GAO Questions Wisdom of Public Private Partnerships

GAO Questions Wisdom of Public Private Partnerships

by TheNewspaper.com

Government Accountability Office testimony warns of need to better assess the true cost of privately operated toll roads.

GAO report coverThe Government Accountability Office last week questioned the wisdom of using public-private partnerships to build and maintain toll roads. GAO's Director of Physical Infrastructure issues, Jay Etta Z. Hecker, summarized the congressional watchdog agency's work in testimony before a US Senate Finance subcommittee hearing on Thursday that focused on the cost to the public of privately operated toll road leasing arrangements.

Broadly speaking, these arrangements allow private companies to lease existing roads in return for the ability to collect toll revenue for a fixed term that can last up to 99 years. In some cases, these companies will offer local politicians billions of dollars in up-front cash payments for leasing rights. The private company would then be responsible for maintaining the road. In other cases, the private company would build and own entirely new roads, delivering significant new highway capacity to the public in return for significant profit potential.

While acknowledging potential public benefits of private participation in these deals, Hecker said that GAO's extensive study of this funding approach identified a number of fundamental problems.

"There is no 'free' money in public-private partnerships," GAO's report stated. "They are potentially more costly to the public and it is likely that tolls on a privately operated highway will increase to a greater extent than they would on a publicly operated toll road. There is also the risk of tolls being set that exceed the costs of the facility, including a reasonable rate of return, should a private concessionaire gain market power because of the lack of viable travel alternatives."

Read the rest of the article HERE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TXDOT has operated pretty much like "La Cosa Nostra" for several decades, but, now things have been brought out to the public light where in the past have been surpressed. No one was able to speak up against the wrong doing for fear of their job. Many quit because of its corruption practice and were labled as not good employees, and that in it self was to let everyone else know to keep their mouth shut or labled the same. Some say that this blog is only adding fuel to the fire, but, I have to say, that this blog is the only freedome of speach we as TXDOT employees have as to the wrong doing that is taking place without accoutabilty. We only hope that the state representatives and senators take note and take action for the sake of the tax payer who struggles to pay thier taxes just to find that it is being misused. If you want to get rich, then, go into the private secotor, but, do not abuse tax payer money. And if you do, then, you are in the wrong place and you are to be removed.