Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV) have announced the establishment of the Committee’s next special panel, which will focus on the use of and opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) across all modes of transportation, economic development, public buildings, water, and maritime infrastructure and equipment.
The full committee’s Vice Chairman, U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), will chair the newly formed “Panel on Public-Private Partnerships,” and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) will serve as the ranking member. Duncan also led the Committee’s first special panel of the 113th Congress, which examined the need to improve U.S. freight transportation, and released its report in October.
The panel will examine the current state of P3s in the United States to identify: (1) the role P3s play in development and delivery of transportation and infrastructure projects in the U.S., and on the U.S. economy; (2) if/how P3s enhance delivery and management of transportation and infrastructure projects beyond the capabilities of government agencies or the private sector acting independently; and (3) how to balance the needs of the public and private sectors when considering, developing, and implementing P3 projects.
This week, the Transportation Committee held its first hearing on the next reauthorization of surface transportation programs, which it plans to develop this year. The P3 panel’s work can serve as another tool the Committee uses to write that legislation, as well as other initiatives to improve the United States’ ability to utilize available resources and strengthen our infrastructure.
“The private sector continues to show significant, growing interest in investing in infrastructure in the United States and internationally. But aside from a selection of highway projects, utilization of P3s in U.S. transportation, economic development, and water infrastructure has been limited,” said Shuster. “Chairman Duncan and the members of the P3 panel will examine the role of public-private partnerships in our infrastructure and where greater opportunities may exist to leverage resources at the federal, state, and local level. The panel’s recommendations will be used as the Committee continues to develop future legislation.”
“There’s no question that we must modernize our infrastructure across all modes of transportation and identify ways to finance these needed investments,” said Rahall. “This bipartisan panel will help our Committee determine what role P3s can play in support of these efforts. I look forward to our work together in the months ahead.”
“The private sector possesses unique strengths, advantages, and roles when it comes to transportation infrastructure. Effective collaboration between the private sector and the government increases efficiency and maximizes taxpayer investment in our Nation’s infrastructure,” Duncan said. “I am eager to explore this new era of public-private partnership and ways it can enhance the next surface transportation bill and other facets of our infrastructure.”
“Our communities are facing pressing transportation needs, with limited resources available to address them,” said Capuano. “The challenges of rehabilitating aging infrastructure must always be balanced with the desire to create new transportation opportunities for commuters. This panel will explore the role that the private sector can and should play in improving the nation’s infrastructure and I look forward to serving on it.”
By the rules of the Committee adopted at the beginning of the Congress, the Chairman can establish special panels to serve for a period of six months.