Bills making their way through state legislatures in Tennessee and Kentucky could allow governments in both states to begin developing transportation projects through public-private partnerships. Kentucky’s legislation would allow this procurement method to be used for other public projects as well.
Legislators in Nashville are considering SB 2093, which would authorize local and state governments to pursue P3s and give partners the power to seek loans, purchase rights of way and collect fees. The bipartisan bill also permits developers to submit unsolicited proposals but includes a 90-day period during which other firms can submit competing proposals.
One project that could be built through a P3 is a $5.4 billion bus rapid transit line connecting Nashville and Clarksville, reported “The Tennessean”. Neither sources of funding nor proposed alternatives have been identified but legislation introduced last year that would allow the metropolitan transit system to charge customers a fuel tax to fund them will be considered this spring.
Kentucky is considering two identical bills that would permit state and local governments to use P3s develop capital projects, such as public roads, bridges and parks. Projects worth more than $25 million would require the General Assembly’s approval, reported CN׀2 Pure Politics.
HB 309 or SB 132 may stand a stronger chance of passing than a similar bill that then-Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed in 2014 because it called for the imposition of tolls to pay for the replacement of Brent Spence Bridge connecting Kentucky and Ohio. The new legislation explicitly prohibits the imposition of tolls on interstate highway projects between the two states.