Schwarzenegger — One Step Forward

By December 27, 2007Infrastructure

From Reuters:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called on lawmakers on Wednesday to pass legislation to allow the private sector to have a bigger role in building, operating and maintaining the state’s public works.

The Republican governor, who has often spoken in favor of public-private partnerships to improve and expand state infrastructure, urged the state’s Democrat-led legislature to approve bills that would expand the types of projects, services and government entities that could enter into such tie-ups.

Schwarzenegger and top lawmakers rallied voters last year to support ballot measures authorizing more than $40 billion in general obligation debt to finance various public works projects. But he has maintained those funds represent a fraction of the investment the country’s most populous state must make in its infrastructure.

The term of art for these projects is public-private partnerships or Performance-Based Infrastructure (wonder who focus grouped that one). As Schwarzenegger’s news release states, he’s asking the Legislature to statutorily:

  • Expand the types of projects, services and government entities that can enter into PBI arrangements.
  • Increase contracting flexibility so the state can better negotiate with potential contractors.
  • Establish “PBI California,” a center for excellence to help determine which projects can benefit from PBI, represent the state in negotiations with PBI participants, ensure transparency and monitor performance.
  • Given the vast needs for infrastructure maintenance and expansion in California, Schwarzenegger is showing some real leadership (and appreciation for private-sector efficiencies) in offering new and not immediately universally popular financing proposals. Or so it seems at first glance…

    The NAM’s policy statement on transportation issues is here.

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