Building on International Success Tapping Private Sector to Build New Roads

The Federal Highway Administration recently released a new report, “Public-Private Partnerships for Highway Infrastructure: Capitalizing on International Experience,” detailing international experience with privately financed transportation infrastructure (via public-private partnerships), and it looks to be an informative read. From the abstract:

Public-private partnership (PPP) programs for highway infrastructure are not widely used in the United States. The Federal Highway Administration, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and National Cooperative Highway Research Program sponsored a scanning study to collect information about PPP programs for highway infrastructure in Australia, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom, where PPP experience is more extensive.

The scan team learned that PPPs are an effective strategy for delivering highway projects, and they are service arrangements as much as financial ones. The team observed that potential PPP projects must be analyzed and structured thoughtfully to preserve public interests and that managing the partnership over the life of the contract is critical to providing the services expected.

Team recommendations for U.S. implementation include convening workshops, developing training guidelines, establishing an expert task group, developing a research strategy, and publishing principles and guideline documents on PPP topics.

See here for related thoughts from Reason’s Bob Poole on how the overseas experience offers U.S. policymakers some best practices that would improve the transparency of (and remove some of the politics associated with) PPP project development.

Reason’s Transportation Research and Commentary