The New Era of Public-Private Partnerships

Article excerpt

Jurisdictions use public-private partnerships (P3s) for all kinds of projects--from printing services to operational contracts to major infrastructure undertakings--and for all sorts of reasons--from reducing costs to outsourcing internal service functions to getting large one-time injections of funds to do crucial projects they could not otherwise afford. These deals can be controversial, but P3s are not inherently good or bad; each deal must be evaluated based on criteria that make sense for individual jurisdictions. This issue of Government Finance Review gives finance officers examples and information to will help them consider P3 options for their jurisdictions.

The City of Chicago, Illinois, has been on the forefront of public-private partnerships, with three recent high-profile deals. In The Chicago Experience: A P3 Checklist, Roland Calia and Laurence Msall of the Civic Federation--a fiscal policy research organization--evaluated these deals and created a checklist for assessing whether transactions make use of maximum benefits, mitigate potential problems, are accountable to stakeholders, include effective oversight, and use proceeds prudently.

The Pros and Cons of Privatization, an excerpt from a report published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, points out potential concerns about P3s, along with ways in which they can be used to advance the public interest. …