Senate Transportation Committee Holds Public Hearing Examining Use of Public-Private Partnerships to Fund Transportation Projects

            The New York State Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), today held a public hearing examining the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) to fund transportation infrastructure projects. 

            The hearing comes at a time when the State is facing an infrastructure crisis. The state is replacing and rehabilitating far below the necessary number of bridges and highways to maintain a state of good repair. Nearly half of New York’s 17,400 state and local highway bridges are either deficient now or will become deficient within the next ten years. 

            “Our transportation infrastructure supports more than 130 billion vehicle miles of travel annually and spans the mileage equivalent of driving round trip from Albany to Los Angeles 20 times. However, it also needs major upgrades that the state cannot afford using current funding sources alone. Public-private partnerships are a tool many other states are utilizing to maintain and improve their infrastructure. New York State needs to explore how we can effectively use P3s here, and that’s exactly what this hearing did,” said Senator Fuschillo, who scheduled the public hearing.    

            Discussion at the hearing focused on how New York State can utilize public-private partnerships in order to expedite and better fund infrastructure projects throughout New York State. 

            A number of experts from government agencies, the private sector, non-profit organizations, and labor & trade organizations offered their input on public-private partnerships in New York State, including: 

            * Joan McDonald, Commissioner, New York State Department of Transportation

            * Alexander Grannis, First Deputy Comptroller, Office of the State Comptroller

            * Hillary Ring, Director of Government Affairs, MTA

            * Norman MacMillan, Delegate Minister, Ministere des Transports du Quebec

            * Jonathan Turnbull, Managing Director, Lazard Freres & Co. LLC

* Ed Lucas, Member of Executive Board, New York State Public Employees Federation

* Samara Barend, VP Strategic Development, Director of Public-Private Partnerships, AECOM

* Tom Osborne, Managing Director of United Bank of Switzerland

            * D.J. Gribbin, Managing Director of Macquarie Capital Advisors

            * Dr. Joshua Schank, President & CEO, Eno Transportation Foundation

            * Marc Herbst, Executive Director, Long Island Contractors Association

            * Jay Simson, President, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York

* Thomas Minnick, Director, Center for Human Resources, Business Council of New York State

* Jeffrey Frediani, Legislative Analyst, AAA New York State 

            Public-private partnerships (P3s) enable governments to partner with the private sector to finance the construction, maintenance, and operation of infrastructure projects. Given the private sector’s vested financial interest in completing projects on-time and under-budget, P3s often perform more efficiently than their counterparts and save money. 29 other states and Puerto Rico have enacted laws authorizing public-private partnerships for highway & bridge projects.  

            The hearing was held at the State Legislative Office Building in Albany.