The latest interview in Reason Foundation’s Innovators in Action 2014 series focuses on recent legislation introduced in Missouri to allow for “best value” procurement and create a statutory framework for public-private partnerships to develop social infrastructure projects. Earlier this month, I interviewed Missouri State Representative Paul Curtman-sponsor of the legislation-on his interest in best value procurement, social infrastructure partnerships, and more. Here’s an excerpt:
Gilroy: In the 2014 session, you also proposed enabling legislation to allow for public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the development of “social infrastructure,” meaning a broad array of government buildings. What prompted your interest in social infrastructure PPPs?
Curtman: Missouri is in a similar situation as many other states. We have a billion dollars of deferred maintenance, needs for new facilities on our public higher education campuses, a crumbling state mental health hospital, and plenty of other projects that are on hold, but in demand. We have zero appetite for new taxes, and new debt outlays are equally unpalatable. The PPP concept is one I came across in my research-I believe it may have even been in a Reason Foundation publication-that is both smart and pragmatic in taking advantage of private sector business acumen while protecting taxpayers from risk.
Gilroy: Are there experiences in other states that you find particularly compelling on social infrastructure PPPs?
Curtman: Florida and Virginia are the two examples I often cite when I visit with legislative leaders and other stakeholders. Both have years of combined experience and several projects in which to showcase the value PPPs are affording these states’ respective taxpayers.