Monday, December 21, 2009

Michigan Bill Would Allow Private Investments in Public Projects

Crain's Detroit Business reports today that legislation has been introduced in the Michigan legislature that would encourage private investors to fund public transportation infrastructure.

House Bill 5461 would create the Private Investment Infrastructure Funding Act, under which municipalities could enter into collaborative relationships with other public entities to develop public facilities and could, among other things, solicit private sector investment for the financing of public facilities through a bid process.  Generally speaking, "public facilities" means transportation-related projects, including public transportation-related infrastructure, as well as other similar public infrastructure improvements.  The term "municipality" would apply to cities, villages, and townships. 

The concept, called private investment infrastructure funding, or PIIF, was first proposed by the Oakland County Business Roundtable and is being discussed as lawmakers, local officials and business look at ways to help with Michigan's transportation-funding straits.

Update:  A December 23, 2009 Editorial in the the Detroit Free Press (here) endorses the idea of private funding for public infrastructure projects.  On January 27, 2010, it was reported (here, and here) that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is seeking design, build, finance and operate proposals for the Detroit River International  Crossing (DRIC) project in southwest Detroit.  Click here for a copy of the RFP. 

Further Update (June 2, 2010): H.B. 5461 has gone nowhere since it was introduced, however, legislation to enable the DRIC project, through the creation of Public Private Partnerships (P3) has been moving forward under two other bills, H.B. 4961 and H.B. 6128.   H.B. 4961 was approved by the Michigan House on May 26, 2010. 

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