Legislature Approves Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Projects in Pennsylvania

On July 5 Governor Corbett signed legislation making Pennsylvania the 35th state to allow public-private partnerships (P3s) for transportation projects.

House Bill 3 permits public-private contracts for transportation projects that “transfer the rights for the use or control, whether in whole or in part, of transportation facilities by public entities to public-private development entities.” P3s are entitled to all or a portion of revenue generated in exchange for providing services or facilities.

For example, the state would retain ownership of a road or bridge while a private firm in a P3 would receive a fixed return on its investment over time, such as through tolling. The state would use its share of proceeds to meet Commonwealth transportation needs.  Under the legislation, a new and independent Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board, composed of seven members, would review and approve P3 projects.

Observers predict the legislation will take full effect in about two years.

(Sources:  Senate and House Appropriations Committee Fiscal Notes, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 17.)