Senate seeks to Rein in Public-Private Partnerships

Tom Warne Report, 16 March 2012
Land Line Magazine – March 13, 2012

An amendment regarding public-private partnerships was added to the Senate’s proposed two-year transportation bill on March 13 and called a message that public roadways should not put money in investor pockets. By a majority vote of 50-47, Senators included the amendment in their two-year, $109 million transportation bill.

New Mexico Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman proposed the amendment which joined language already in the bill to limit tax breaks for public-private partnerships. The proposals counter other parts of the transportation bill and portions of President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget that encourages states to attract investment in infrastructure.

Trucking associations publicly applauded the Bingaman amendment, which covers three states – Indiana, Illinois and Colorado. Meanwhile, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association opposed the plan, saying it would “punish states” using companies to operate toll roads.

“At a time when all levels of government are under increasing budgetary pressures, we should be incentivizing states who seek to leverage their limited resources,” said ARTBA President Peter Ruane in a letter to senators.

Pete’s comments are right on. PPPs are a tool with great potential for advancing major transportation initiatives. More regulations are not needed here. I found it ironic that a Senator from New Mexico ran this amendment that had nothing to do with his state. TW

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