Kentucky introduces legislation for highway P3s

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Kentucky introduces legislation for highway P3s

Kentucky's House Budget Committee has approved a bill authorizing public private partnerships (P3s) for highway and bridge projects.

House Bill 443 was approved on a 26-4 vote. Representative Leslie Combs is the lead sponsor of the bill, which provides a framework for the use of P3s as an alternative method of procurement, construction, or financing of capital projects and services in Kentucky.

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock stated:

"There are many, many needs that our state has long-term. And it appears to us that to leave the private sector on the sideline while we work to stretch the dollars we have at our disposal as far as we can, would be very short-sighted. We believe this bill needs to be in the Transportation Cabinet's toolbox."

The bill also contains a provision requiring a joint resolution by the Kentucky Legislature for partnerships involving Ohio to move forward with plans to privatize the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky.

The bridge, which was open to traffic in 1963, carries more than 170,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. The structure is considered functionally obsolete in part because of a lack of a shoulder and smaller than standard lanes. The US$2.6 billion project is expected to be redeveloped on a design, build, finance and operation (DBFO) basis.

In late March 2014 we reported that Kentucky's Senate had passed House Bill 407 by a 27-9 vote. The new bill would permit private corporations to partner with government to finance infrastructure projects. The House Bill (HB) 407 had been filed by Leslie Combs on February 20, 2014.

The bill also included an amendment that would prohibit tolls from being used to fund the controversial Brent Spence bridge.

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