Why do too many government construction projects become liabilities for the nation’s taxpayers?
One major reason is the lack of long-term cost and schedule discipline that private sector experience can provide. Public Private Partnerships offer an advantage over traditional government processes by focusing on oversight and costs of the building’s entire life cycle. This proven method of delivering better results, on transportation projects in the U.S. and many kinds of initiatives abroad, is desperately needed for other state and local facilities, ranging from schools to courthouses to hospitals. Unfortunately, a key pro-taxpayer asset to making PPPs attractive to investors – qualified Private Activity Bonds – is not currently available for these types of ventures.
It’s long past time to put more PPPs to work. That’s why the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union and its thousands of members across the country recently endorsed the Public Buildings Renewal Act (PBRA), sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly in the House and Sen. Dean Heller in the Senate. The legislation would expand the definition of facilities that can be financed by Private Activity Bonds. Given the fact that just seven recent PPPs in the U.S., ranging from the Long beach Courthouse in California to the Goethals Bridge in New York, saved more than $3 billion over conventional construction and financing methods. Utilizing this tool for PPPs for other ‘social infrastructure’ has great promise for additional cost reductions. At the same time, the risk of any possible overruns is shifted to private-sector investors in the PPPs, thus delivering a win-win for taxpayers.
PBRA is vital to ushering in this new era of accountable, fiscally responsible state and local government construction – all with a minimal impact on federal revenues. Read more about NTU’s support for this truly innovative, pro-taxpayer legislation. Let’s get the job done and pass PBRA!
By Pete Sepp, President of the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union (ntu.org)