4-2-12: Are Public Private Partnerships Best for the Public?

April 2, 2012 at 8:05 am Leave a comment

Public-private partnerships are agreements in which the state employs a private company to finance, construct, and in some cases, maintain and operate, big public projects like roads and schools--and collect money through mechanisms such as tolls. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

[audio http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wypr/local-wypr-1008561.mp3]

Is the way Maryland contracts with private companies about to change?  Last week, the House of Delegates passed a bill that would expand how the state could employ public-private partnerships in projects such as roads, schools, and government buildings. The measure, which was introduced by the O’Malley administration, was amended to include a provision that would allow it to be retroactively applied to projects now being challenged in court, including the State Center office complex in Baltimore.

Sheilah discusses the bill (House Bill 576) with Delegate Stephen Lafferty, a Democrat who represents Baltimore County.  He took part in a joint oversight commission, which assessed how the partnerships are used in other states. He’s one of the sponsors of the bill that passed the House last week.   She also talks with Delegate Luiz Simmons, Democrat of Montgomery County, who opposes the measure.

For more background on how public-private partnerships work, check out this segment from last fall with Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, who’s been leading the administration’s push for the bill, and with Richard Little, who directs the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy.

Entry filed under: economy, On Air, Policy. Tags: , , .

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