PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was a ceremonial bill signing by Gov. Tom Corbett in New Kensington, embracing public private partnerships – or P3 – for transportation initiatives in the state.
The idea – to solicit creative projects from the private sector to do what government alone can’t afford to do.
“If a private company has a better way to run some aspect of our highway or overall transportation system, they can come to the state with their idea,” says Corbett. “Our newly-created board will look over the proposal and if the numbers make sense to the taxpayer we will allow that private entity to take on that job of administering it.”
Take congestion on Parkway East or West every day, if some private company has a solution, PennDOT wants to hear it.
Here’s an example of P3 as developed in Washington, DC: a privately developed toll road that allows you to avoid that commuter congestion at rush-hour for a fee. It’s like a private HOV lane adjacent to the congested interstate, built by a private company, so that commuters who pay can breeze by the traffic.
Officials say locally there are lots of examples: extending the T to the North Hills or the airport, or a commuter railroad into town.
“Projects like the Alle-Valley railroad can propel this region forward,” says Pennsylvania Rep. Eli Evankovich, a Murrysville Republican.
Another example would be completing the Mon Valley Expressway.
“Bingo,” says the Governor.
The possibilities are endless for private sector solutions.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s rail or bus or car, the private sector will look at it and say how many people want to go from here to here and how can we improve the service and charge them for it and recover the investment,” notes Barry Schoch, Pa. Secretary of Transportation.
“These kinds of projects are almost unimaginable, but they’re do-able and you’re going to see them.” adds Pa. Rep. Rick Geist, chairman of the House Transportation Committee.