Kentucky Senate passes P3 bill - No tolls allowed for Brent Spence bridge

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Kentucky Senate passes P3 bill - No tolls allowed for Brent Spence bridge

Kentucky's Senate has 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 new legislation will:

  • Encourage competition for innovative private sector investments
  • Establish reliable procedures that encourage such private sector investments
  • Promote transparency and accountability in project delivery

The bill also includes an amendment that would prohibit tolls from being used to fund the controversial Brent Spence bridge in Northern Kentucky. The project is a priority of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and state government officials have said an RFQ could be released this year 2014 if a public-private partnership financing model is finally chosen. The new legislation jeopardizes the future of the project and an availability payment structure will be the key to fund the project through a PPP.

Democratic Sen. Perry Clark, who voted against the bill, stated:

They have over a two-thirds failure rate. Of the construction roads, they looked at 11 of them that were completed, seven of those ended in bankruptcy, and several of them ended in foreclosure. Oftentimes it was at great cost to the taxpayers that had to foot the difference.

But Sen. Sara Beth Gregory stated:

Every project must be submitted to the Finance Cabinet for approval before it can go forward to ensure that we are making good decisions. Every project is also subject to legislative oversight at the state level. All of these proposals must come before the Capitol Projects & Bond Oversight Committee.

Several states in the USA have recently approved P3 legislation. On 24 February 2014, the Georgia State Senate passed a bill authorizing a wider use of public-private partnerships to develop infrastructure projects. In January 2014, Indiana's Senate Bill 225, allowed the use of public private partnerships to non-transportation projects.

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