Senate Acts on Public-Private Partnership Measure

Mar 28, 2014

A bill that would permit private corporations to partner with government to finance infrastructure projects is one step closer to becoming law.

House Bill 407 filed by Rep. Leslie Combs passed the chamber by a 27-9 vote, and includes an amendment that would prohibit tolls from being used to fund the controversial Brent Spence bridge in Northern Kentucky.

Democratic Sen. Perry Clark voted against the bill, citing a Brookings Institute study that says public private partnerships, or “P3’s,” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

“They have over a two-thirds failure rate,” he said. “Of the construction roads, they looked at 11 of them that were completed, seven of those ended in bankruptcy, and several of them ended in foreclosure. Oftentimes it was at great cost to the taxpayers that had to foot the difference.”

But Sen. Sara Beth Gregory tried to assure them that the bill provides enough checks and balances.

“Every project must be submitted to the Finance Cabinet for approval before it can go forward to ensure that we are making good decisions. Every project is also subject to legislative oversight at the state level,” she said. “All of these proposals must come before the Capitol Projects & Bond Oversight Committee.”

The bill now heads back to the House before making its way to the governor’s desk.