December 9, 2013
A recent report
by the Washington, D.C., advocacy group In the Public Interest paints
an unseemly picture of public-private partnerships, something that in
recent times has become quite the rave in various sectors, such as
healthcare, utility services and prison systems.
But public-private partnerships also are big in transportation nowadays.
We have a big one right here in our neck of the woods–the Interstate 95 express lanes, the nearly $1 billion project that will extend the HOV lanes in the median of the interstate to Garrisonville.
It’s hard to argue against having more lanes on I-95, but the
agreement the state entered into on the I-95 and I-495 express lanes
have stipulations that could backfire. (Click here
for a recent Free Lance-Start story.) The stipulations in those
agreements require the state to pay the private toll operators if a
certain percentage of non-paying car-poolers use the toll lanes.
The most egregious cases in the report were related to such sectors
as healthcare and prisons systems, but we should take heed of the
express lanes agreements, because more such public-private projects will
be coming down the pike.