WKU Public Radio News Staff
Fri March 28, 2014
Kentucky Senate Approves Measure Creating Public-Private Partnerships for Infrastructure Projects
A bill that would permit private corporations to partner with government to finance infrastructure projects is one step closer to becoming law.
Filed by Rep. Leslie Combs, House Bill 407 passed the Senate by a 27-9 vote, and would allow local governments to partner with businesses to fund infrastructure projects.
Dissenting members worried that the legislation would afford private companies too much influence on public projects, and expressed concern over accountability of the process.
Sen. Perry Clark cited a Brookings Institute study that says public private partnerships, or “P3’s,” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
“They have over a two-thirds failure rate," the Louisville Democrat said. "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 of Monticello tried to assure them that the bill provides enough checks and balances.
“Every project must be submitted to the Finance Cabinet for approval before it can go forward to ensure that we are making good decisions," she said. "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.”
The bill now heads back to the House before making its way to the governor’s desk.