Public and Private Facilities and Infrastructure Act – SB 1048 (201)

BACKGROUND

The latest economic downturn drastically reduced the capital available to government entities for infrastructure. With approximately 80,00 new Texans entering the state each year, it is becoming increasingly hard to keep up with Texas’ growing infrastructure needs. In fact, Texas Higher Education Institutions across the state requested $3.2B in tuition revenue bonds from the state legislature to provide for critical infrastructure needs due to increasing student enrollment. Unfortunately, for higher education and more importantly, students, those bonds were never appropriated. The need for creative alternatives to completing infrastructure projects has led to increasing use of public-private partnerships (PPs or P3s). Yet, prior to the 82nd legislative session (201), entities that used P3s did so without a statutory framework which raised concerns about lack of transparency, framework and consistency.

GOALS

Create a transparent, uniform framework for Public-Private Partnerships in Texas;  Create and facilitate passage of P3 legislation modeled after successful legislation in other
jurisdictions.

ACTION

Longbow Partners, led by Bret Findley, worked together with Balfour Beaty and the National Council of Public Private Partnerships to:

Create a coalition and reconcile inherent differences amongst stakeholders in order to support the aforementioned goals;

  • Draft legislation (ultimately embodied in SB 1048) that would create the framework for a standardized approach to future Public-Private Partnership projects;
  • Identify influential members of the legislature to author and carry the legislation;
  • Met with influential members of the Texas legislature, including Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, to garner support for the bill;
  • Prepare testimony and witnesses for committee hearings and meetings with Texas leadership;
  • Met with key legislators to advocate for passage of the legislation; and,
  • Improvise as necessary to assure passage of legislation in its first legislative session.

RESULTS

On May 27, 201, SB 1048 was passed and signed into law by the Governor shortly thereafter. The legislation has been praised as a new tool that can be used to turn Texas’ infrastructure deficit into one of the most robust Public-Private Partnership markets in the world.

As a result of the legislation, the Texas P3 Association has been formed to advocate and facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships at the state and local levels. P3 stakeholders and government entities across Texas have already sought Longbow’s expertise on the legislation and advice on how to proceed with qualified projects.

Longbow also continues to be instrumental in the passage of guidelines by government entities. For instance, El Paso became the first major municipality to pas guidelines on July 17, 2012.