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Wichita, the largest city in the US state of Kansas, is considering the option of upgrading its water and sewer infrastructure trough a public private partnership (P3) project.
The city is studying the issue of a tender process to select a team to carry out the project. In exchange the preferred bidder would receive annual payments form the city. The city would retain the ownership of the water and related infrastructure.
The total project investment is estimated at US$1.6 billion.
Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell stated:
"The whole goal in looking at these public-private partnerships is to see if we can pick up efficiencies in the way that we operate our system and looking at some unique tools that aren't available to us today that may change our bond indebtedness in the future."
"We still needed to do a full assessment of the system regardless, and it kind of gives us an opportunity to look at our expertise and techniques and compare it to what they're willing to offer from the private sector. I can't see any downside to at least taking it to that next level."
Alan King, Director of Public Works & Utilities of Wichita, commented:
"We would enter into a financial arrangement where we would commit to pay back that private capital over time and it would give us some flexibility we don't currently have when we issue revenue bonds as a utility."
In 2013, the estimated population of the Wichita metropolitan area was 637,394, and that of the larger Wichita-Winfield combined statistical area was 673,598.
We have recently reported about several P3 projects in the US: