House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Highway and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) released a position paper on public-private partnerships (PPPs) clarifying their position on the use of PPPs to meet transportation infrastructure needs.
The paper addresses a number of issues that have surfaced concerning the use of PPPs, including: protecting the public from "unreasonably high toll rates and excessive profits"; use of non-compete clauses; use of excessively long terms concession agreements; relief from tolls for low-income drivers and prohibiting use of unsolicited PPP proposals.
The paper also recommends vigorous federal oversight to protect the public interest in our national highway system. The paper points out that "under the right circumstances and conditions, public-private partnerships (PPPs) can lead to more efficient and effective construction, management, operation and maintenance of transportation facilities." However, they go on to say that "PPPs can supplement -- but not provide a substitute for -- public investments in transportation improvements".