Public-Private Partnership (P3) Model State Legislation

The Bipartisan Policy Center created this model legislation to help states pass public-private partnership (P3) enabling laws to encourage private-sector investment in infrastructure (wastewater, transportation, stormwater, and green infrastructure). P3s could be an important tool for helping state and local governments finance the investments they need to make to adapt infrastructure systems.  P3s allow the government to contract with a private sector partner to fulfill one or more traditional government functions, including financing, delivery, operations, and maintenance of public infrastructure.  

In order for state and local government agencies to use P3s, they need enabling legislation that authorizes the use these types of public-private contracts. Additionally, the P3 enabling legislation must be broad enough to authorize the use of P3s for adaptation initiatives, like using green infrastructure to manage stormwater.

The Bipartisan Policy Center model legislation promotes best practices for encouraging private-sector investment in infrastructure through P3s, but it allows state legislators to customize the types of policies to include in state-specific legislation. The model legislation helps states consider different kinds of governance structures for delivering the technical expertise and evaluation needed to leverage P3s. For example, the model legislation calls for states to create a Task Force with representatives from all levels of government and public and private stakeholders to develop guidelines for solicitation, evaluation, award, and delivery of P3 contracts.  The legislation also calls for public education components to communicate the benefits of public-private partnerships and provisions requiring evaluation of the life-cycle costs and benefits of P3 projects.

According to this report,  as of December 2015, 33 states have passed some form of P3 enabling legislation. Many states’ enabling laws contain specific limitations on the types of P3s, the length of P3 agreements, and the process for negotiating P3s. 

Publication Date: December 2015

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