General Assembly Update
December 11, 2014
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PROJECT REFORMS PROPOSED
Governor McAuliffe announced yesterday that he will introduce legislation to reform the P3 process. According to the Governor, the reforms are designed to increase transparency, minimize risk for taxpayers and draw clear lines of accountability.
The sponsor of the legislation, Delegate Chris Jones, Suffolk, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said, “Public-private partnership projects are an important and valuable tool that can help our Commonwealth build and maintain a 21st century transportation network. However, we have an obligation to act as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. I believe the P3 system must be reformed to strengthen accountability and improve transparency. The reforms proposed are a step toward accomplishing that goal without jeopardizing the ability of Virginia to execute P3 projects. Our first responsibility must always be Virginia taxpayers.“
The Governor and Chairman Jones’ P3 reform legislation will require the following:
Lawmakers will be informed and involved early in the P3 process by requiring staff from the House and Senate transportation committees to be on the P3 steering committee to determine if a project meets the public purpose criteria for a P3.
A finding of public purpose for the project by the Secretary of Transportation, consistent with the P3 guidelines, before the project agreement is signed.
The legislation will put in place new procedures for high risk projects that will shield the public from unexpected liabilities.