Earlier this year the SHRP 2 Program and the Transportation Research Board issued a report entitled “The Effect of Public-Private Partnerships and Non-Traditional Procurement Processes on Highway Planning, Environmental Review and Collaborative Decision Making,” which is available on the TRB website.

Public-private partnerships (“P3s”) have become an important tool in developing and financing infrastructure improvements, and are being used by transportation agencies across the nation.  One issue faced by agencies wishing to explore the use of P3s concerns how P3 strategies interrelate with programming and planning efforts.  In an effort to promote a better understanding of these interrelationships, the SHRP2 Program asked a team that included Parsons Brinckerhoff, HS Public Affairs and Nossaman LLP to conduct a study on the subject.

The report produced by this team documents the nature, timing and implementation of P3 projects in the United States, focusing on the different points in time during which the private sector may become involved in project development, private sector investment interest, and how P3s may be integrated into the collaborative decision-making tool developed under SHRP 2 C01 (the TCAPP Decision Guide).  Other topics addressed in the report include legal and financial issues affecting P3 implementation, management of challenges in implementing P3s, timing and implementation of P3s, and encouraging early consideration of P3s.  The report provides the results of interviews with state transportation departments and private investors, which, among other things, confirm the widely-held belief that the private sector gravitates toward larger, higher visibility projects than smaller projects, and prefers projects with NEPA approval over those awaiting clearance.

This report will provide a useful roadmap for transportation agencies in deciding how to integrate P3s into the programming and planning process.