Some days, don’t you wake up just craving to read about public-private partnerships?
Today was one of those days for my inner wonk, because a story in Denverite focuses on the fact that the City and County of Denver is poised to set up an office that will “streamline” putting together deals that bring massive private funding to expensive public projects. There have been earlier stories on this move, but this story made me sit up straight.
If the Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposed 2019 budget passes with the new Performance Based Infrastructure Office in place, with two employees, I think we can only imagine many more of these P3 deals heading our way. In terms of a timely project, reporter David Sachs broke down the facts of the giant “Great Hall” renovation that has begun at DIA.
But it’s not too big a stretch to wonder who, over time, might be left holding the bag? There have been other versions of this approach to funding a mega-project. According to a 2017 Colorado Legislative Council Staff Issue Brief, the E-470 project east of Denver was one of the first major toll road public – private partnerships in the country. Grand projects just seem to beg for one of these partnerships.
The immense remake of the Boulder Turnpike was another venture. A Denver Post story in 2013 summed it up this way: “Starting later this year and lasting until 2063, U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder will be maintained and operated by a private consortium known as Plenary Roads Denver. The consortium — made up of six companies with expertise ranging from finance to construction to road design — was chosen last week by CDOT to complete the second phase of the U.S. 36 Managed Lanes project and then maintain the entire corridor for the next 50 years.”
That’s a long time to have people paying attention.
Below are links to the Denverite story, as well as other examples of what P3’s can fund.