Private companies, investors, and governments are joining forces to complete infrastructure and other projects through a P3 organization.
Driven by infrastructure – the U.S. needs $3.6 trillion by 2020 to update its existing infrastructure – P3 projects have gained much ground in recent years. P3 projects in the U.S. are likely to become some of the largest opportunities in the world, according to analysts.
Across the country, P3s are being formed to address a variety of improvements:
- Broadband networks
- Civic and wastewater infrastructure
- School buildings
- Civic centers
- Public university housing
Part of the draw of a public-private partnership goes far beyond private financing, in an era when government funding may not be enough. A P3 approach looks beyond the up-front cost, and analyzes the project’s cost over its entire lifecycle, including installation, operating, maintenance, and future upgrade costs. Often, a private entity will assume responsibility for future maintenance and upgrades, removing or limiting risk from a public organization.
A P3 partnership can reduce the total cost of the project based on process, resulting in as much as 20 percent less than a traditional design-bid-build model. Projects are often completed faster, partly because steep penalty fees may be applied for work not completed on time. A highway in Colorado is estimated to be completed 20 years sooner because of a P3 approach.
Pennsylvania is the first state to advance transportation updates by bundling smaller projects into a large package, The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. RETTEW is providing environmental investigations and oversight for these 558 bridge replacement projects. Other states and counties are watching the progress and considering similar models.
RETTEW is involved in other P3 projects outside of the transportation market as well. For a project in Indiana, private funding, a city government, an industrial company, and RETTEW are working together on a waste treatment process. Internationally, one of RETTEW’s geophysics experts is working with other universities, NATO, and the government of Ukraine to develop a robot capable of quickly and accurately identifying landmines. Some of our renewable energy work is also P3-style, from solar to battery storage installations.