Private Participation in US Infrastructure: The Role of PPP Units
PPP units are quasi-governmental entities that assist the public sector with pre-project screening, project prioritization, education, and expert advice. They strive to ensure that infrastructure projects attract private participation while promoting the public interest.
PPPs have been used to deliver network infrastructure such as roads, bridges, tunnels, and water systems, as well schools, hospitals, prisons, and courthouses. Properly designed, executed, and enforced PPPs can create substantial social value. Poorly designed PPPs, however, can generate social costs.
PPP units create benefits through interactions with potential private partners. This includes explaining, marketing, and providing information on the set of projects planned in the jurisdiction. This lowers the cost to investors, particularly from outside the jurisdiction, of learning about infrastructure investment opportunities.
The United States has been surprisingly slow to create dedicated PPP units to encourage PPP procurement and attract investment dollars to critical US infrastructure projects. The United States should adopt a comprehensive and robust two-tiered system of PPP units to facilitate greater private investment in US infrastructure.