The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), which sparked federal interest in supporting public-private partnerships (P3) to finance and build transportation infrastructure, has increased its staff for P3 issue work and educational outreach activities, with an increased focus placed on the state level.
ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane announced that Rich Juliano, ARTBA’s senior vice president for strategic initiatives and manager of the association’s programs and services for its transportation contractor members and affiliated state highway contractor associations, will lead the association’s staff P3 Division team as well. Working with him on P3 issues and programs will be ARTBA Vice President of Finance Mike Forsythe and Special Projects Manager Rebecca Schwartz.
“The P3 arena has changed,” Ruane says. “It’s time to recalibrate our approach to it.” State and local governments, he says, “now have available to them a range of federally supportive P3 tools, incentives and flexibility to use, if they choose, to support transportation project development.” ARTBA’s P3 activities, he says, will now move “from being primarily federal-centric, to helping our state contractor associations, member firms and public agencies become engaged in P3 market issues and development, if they choose to do so.”
In this pursuit, Ruane says, ARTBA will continue to focus on education, serving as an “honest broker.” The broader staffing in the P3 issue, Ruane says, does not mean ARTBA is shifting its emphasis to P3s as “the” solution to paying for the nation’s highway and transit capital needs.
“Increased public funding at all levels of government is critical to meeting the nation’s transportation needs,” he says. “P3 financing mechanisms and tools provide a very important additive to public funding, but private-sector money is not going to pay for the vast majority of work that is necessary. P3 approaches have been proven to be very appropriate for certain areas and types of projects—particularly large, very expensive ones that add system capacity. But transportation investment, no matter where, should be approached holistically—both public funding and P3 approaches should always be considered and in the mix. There are important roles for each and both are needed.”