Lawmakers Approve Long-Needed Public-Private Partnership Changes
The Connecticut legislature has approved long-needed changes to the public-private partnership statute, sending legislation to Gov. Ned Lamont for his signature.
SB 920 passed the House 107-38 June 4 after clearing the Senate on a 25-10 vote last month.
The bill makes a number of changes to the P3 statute that will make it easier for the governor to approve P3 projects and better incentivize public-private collaboration.
SB 920 reauthorizes the governor’s authority to approve up to five P3 project agreements through January 1, 2027. This authority had expired on January 1, 2020.
The bill restricts future P3 projects to transportation projects emanating out of the Department of Transportation. Under the bill, the governor must make the determination that the P3 agreement creates jobs and economic growth.
Second, the bill makes a number of changes to what can be considered a P3 project under state law.
The current iteration of the law provides that P3 projects must be “revenue-generating facilities”, and requires that state support of P3 projects must not exceed 25% of the project’s cost.
Both of these restrictive provisions were removed in SB 920.
Under an amendment offered by Sen. Will Haskell (D-Westport), the bill was modified to require DOT to make best efforts to use state employees to perform certain work related to the P3 project.
For example, the new language now requires any development or inspection contract to include a provision to train DOT employees in the process for bidding and managing P3s.
The bill further expands DOT’s role in P3s by authorizing DOT to appoint employees to durational appointments for inspection and development services.
Lastly, the bill requires DOT to annually submit a report analyzing the P3’s progress and the private consultant’s performance for development and inspection work.
The bill earned the support of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association and CBIA at a public hearing on the matter earlier this year.
CBIA assistant counsel Wyatt Bosworth told the Transportation Committee that the changes offered in the bill “will better incentivize public-private creativity, efficiency, innovation, and capital to address the state’s immense infrastructure needs.”
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