Legislation the Council for Quality Growth along with many partner organizations supports, Senate Bill 59,the Partnership for Public Facilities and Infrastructure Act (P3), was introduced in the Senate. Many other states, in particular Virginia where the models originated, have embraced greater use of public private partnerships. As the population of Georgia continues to grow, there is an increasing need for the construction of new public facilities, including schools, hospitals, emergency response centers, prisons and courthouses.
However, due to the recession, budget constraints have limited the delivery of many of these needed projects. There is not a structured, open process under current law for government to select private sector partners to construct buildings and other infrastructure.
Georgia should consider this P3 legislation as another tool in the toolbox and embrace a greater use of public private partnerships. By bringing together expertise, innovation and financial resources, this bill would allow innovation and new ways to solve the states needs. While Georgia currently has innovative procurement tools to develop transportation and reservoirs, no such tool exists for vertical construction.
This legislation accomplishes a number of things, including:
- Providing predictable and transparent procurement method to assure accountability to taxpayers;
- Does not allow the state to increase debt or borrowing capacity;
- Establishes a two-pronged strategy to meet state and local government needs;
- Establishes a 10 Member Guidelines Committee, with members appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House;
- Allows private entities to develop and/or operate qualified projects normally assumed by a local or state government or public entity, in a timely and less costly manner and is subject to guidelines and oversight by the Guidelines Committee;
- Maintains competition by requiring more information than traditional procurement methods.
Senate Bill 59 allows for a structured, transparent and effective way for the public and private sectors to form partnerships to build, if they meet an already identified, existing government needs. If private sector partners propose a project, they are required to pay upfront for any costs that the government incurs reviewing the proposal.
Under the legislation, the private sector can propose at their own cost a number of different ways of building and operating public buildings, technology systems and other needed improvements. This does not replace any existing construction methods, and will simply add another tool that can be used when needed and remember no government is required to use this process instead of existing tools; it is simply another option.
We will continue to support legislation that encourages public-private partnerships and that seeks to address Georgia’s critical infrastructure needs and commend Senator Hunter Hill for bringing this legislation forward.