Former Green Beret Receives Savas Award for Afghanistan Rescue Efforts
Scott Mann, who spent over 20 years in the Army in special operations, founded a private network of former military personnel that rescued over one thousand Afghan nationals who worked with the United States. Dubbed Task Force Pineapple, the operation grew from Mann coordinating efforts on his cell phone in the wake of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan to a full-fledged public-private partnership, with government agencies calling on Task Force Pineapple to save Afghan nationals at risk of retaliation. For his valiant efforts to save American allies left behind after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Reason Foundation presented Mann with the 2022 Savas Award for Privatization earlier this month.
Municipal Water Systems Vary in Fiscal and Environmental Soundness
Municipal water systems often struggle when their user charges don’t cover operations costs, especially when those costs are rising to comply with the Enviromental Protection Agency’s regulations. Indeed, there is a bit of a chicken and egg problem where lack of sufficient revenue from users and/or high internal cost structures lead to deferred maintenance that causes challenges in meeting EPA standards. Reason Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Marc Joffe reports the results from a detailed study of 900 municipal water systems’ financial health and violations of EPA standards. Through a combination of mapping, data visualization, and three case studies, he shows how poor financial conditions and regulatory compliance challenges can push water systems toward failure.
Annual Privatization Report 2022: Transportation Finance
Reason Foundation has published its Annual Privatization Report (APR), a thorough examination of government contracting and public-private partnerships (P3s) at all levels of government, for more than three decades. APR has long provided valuable information to bring greater accountability, competition, innovation, and transparency into how governments partner with the private sector in delivering public services. Late last month, Reason Foundation released the Annual Privatization Report 2022: Transportation Finance. In this report, Reason Foundation Director of Transportation Policy Robert Poole gives a review of developments over the past year on infrastructure finance funds, with a strong emphasis on their role in transportation infrastructure, as well as investments in transportation made by pension funds.
Informal Sector Critical for Effective Child Care
”Large federal spending on center-based and other licensed daycare will not solve the childcare crisis,” argues Reason Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Max Gulker. In a recent article, he focuses on the individual daycare choices parents make, noting the significance of the informal sector, where arrangements based on close social relationships are particularly important. These arrangements have certain positives, including flexibility and preexisting trust, that daycare centers cannot fully match. President Biden’s Build Back Better plan offers billions in subsidies for daycare centers, but a truly “better” approach should offer smaller-scale ways to foster informal care from the bottom up.
NEWS & NOTES
JFK Airport Reaches Financial Close on Terminal One Project: Earlier this month, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) reached financial close with a Ferrovial-led consortium for their Terminal One project, a 38-year public-private partnership (P3). Financiers will provide $6.3 billion in loans and 2.3 billion in equity for the project, which replaces a previous procurement attempt that ended in 2020 after financiers withdrew commitments. In addition to upgrading and expanding facilities at the international terminal, the consortium aims to increase reliance on renewable energy to 50% while cutting back on energy usage by 30%. PANYNJ expects the construction phase of the project to be completed by early 2026.
Richmond Plans Coliseum Redevelopment, Future RFP, Sale Likely: In May, Richmond’s City Council approved two measures aimed at the eventual sale of the Richmond Coliseum, which officially closed back in early 2019. The ordinances include the transfer of ownership to the Richmond Economic Development Authority, which must issue a request for proposals to solicit buyers to demolish the structure, clean up the site within a year of demolition, and redevelop the seven-acre site within three-and-a-half years.
Indiana Town Considers Aquatic Center P3: Pendleton, Indiana, located northeast of Indianapolis, released a Request for Proposals and Qualifications (RFPQ) for a new indoor/outdoor aquatic center P3. The town and a local school district each operate a community pool, and each pool would require significant financial resources to maintain viability. The two pool owners see their combined efforts as a way of sharing costs and obtaining improved facilities that can accommodate all parties’ needs. They plan to offer a 13-acre plot as a site for the aquatic center, which would operate under a 99-year lease agreement. Responses to the RFPQ are due at the end of June, and the town hopes to have the center fully operational by 2024.
Colorado Enacts Expanded P3 Enabling Legislation: In May, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed SB 22, which allows any state agency, except the Colorado Department of Transportation and higher education institutions (which have existing guidelines), to enter public-private partnerships (P3s). The executive director of the state’s Department of Personnel now has a year to develop procurement guidelines for P3s, sales, and leases, including unsolicited proposals as well as competitive bidding arrangements. State agencies selling real property would transfer proceeds into a newly established fund with the state treasurer. The legislation also creates a P3 subcommittee within the state’s economic development commission, which would review all potential “contracts, sales, and leases” of state property, but the initiating P3 agency would not be obligated to act on their recommendations.
California Releases RFQ for Dam Removal: In May, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) released a request for qualifications (RFQ) for services related to removing the Rindge Dam, located in Malibu State Park. The nearly 100-year-old structure was decommissioned in 1967 and has since disrupted the habitat of spawning aquatic life, in addition to blocking the movement of sediment to replenish nearby ocean beaches. Statements of qualification are due in July, and CDPR hopes to be awarding contracts this fall.
William & Mary Moves Forward with Housing and Dining Redevelopment P3: In May, William & Mary (W&M), located in Williamsburg, Virginia, issued an RFQ for a proposed project to develop housing and dining facilities. According to an April presentation made with advisors Brailsford & Dunlavey, the school plans to demolish and replace 2,350 beds worth of residence halls and renovate roughly 1,700. W&M hopes to have the project completed by 2032, after which on-campus housing will remain about the same as present (5,000) but will be fully equipped with air conditioning and ventilation (compared to 42% at present) and will be confined to 15 fewer residence halls.
Kentucky University Selects Housing and Dining P3 Partner: In June, Murray State University’s Board of Regents voted unanimously in favor of the school entering a predevelopment agreement with RISE Real Estate to develop new dining and housing facilities for the school. The school and RISE will next work on development plans, which will include the demolition of a residence hall for two new halls expected to house a combined 600 students. The school also plans to solicit for a nonprofit to join the venture soon and hopes a full plan can be greenlit in October.
“[Task Force Pineapple] represented a public-private partnership that was agile and working. We started getting phone calls from the government to move their own people out…When that last plane left Kabul, we had 6,000 people on our manifest. Twenty babies were born in our safe house, and their medical care was fully sustained by donations from the private sector. It was all the private sector. It was all volunteers. There was no humanitarian aid.”
—Scott Mann, retired Green Beret and founder of Task Force Pineapple, in accepting the Savas Award for Privatization earlier this month
“Rindge Dam has changed the ecological, hydrological, and aesthetic character of Malibu Creek. It is a total barrier to high-quality spawning and rearing habitat for the federally endangered Southern California steelhead trout (Southern steelhead). Rindge Dam also has resulted in segmented habitat for other aquatic and terrestrial wildlife species. Moreover, it has interrupted the natural sediment transport regime of the watershed, which means the sediment trapped in the reservoir behind the dam cannot flow downstream to nourish the beach and nearshore habitats. On a broad scale, this changed sediment transport regime has contributed to a loss of coastal resilience in the area.”
—From a May 2022 request for qualifications issued by the California Department of Parks and Recreation for the removal of Rindge Dam
Correction June 27, 2022: The “Colorado Enacts Expanded P3 Enabling Legislation” section was updated to clarify the procurement guidelines and process.