Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships

The Commonwealth of Virginia has established the  Office of Transportation P3.  As an organization separate from the Department of Transportation, it is tasked with integrating the public and private sectors into a multi-pronged approach to our infrastructure woes.

Look for something like this in other states - - Office of [you fill in the blank] P3.  The "you fill in the blank" is only limited by the predictability of the service revenue stream or our ability to monetize the public infrastructure landscape.  From water to wastewater to public parking lots to potholes (maybe a satellite system tracking a gizmo in your registration sticker - - you get tagged each time you drive over the pothole after repair).  The languages of the Office of [you fill in the blank] P3 will all be basically the same.  The mandate will be facilitate, develop, encourage, innovate, be transparent, master accountability, seek, efficiency, risk transfer, and encourage growth in the context of all things P3.

We are broke at the national level.  Many states and communities are in the same or worse shape.  The U.S. faces a perfect storm of bad infrastructure news and events.  A period of austerity, shifting demographics and priorities from investing in the future to paying for the past, and aging public infrastructure.  Polls seem to support a collective response to fixing our infrastructure woes.  But remember the Game of Thrones Guide to Public Infrastructure:

"People often claim to hunger for truth but seldom like the taste when it's served up."
Higher income taxes - - bad taste.  Higher gas taxes - - bad taste.  Higher property taxes - - bad taste.  Water rates going up by 30% - - bad taste.  Success in the world of [you fill in the blank] P3 will belong to those who can master the Game of Thrones Guide to Public Infrastructure.


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