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May 27, 2014 11:00 AM, EDT

Virginia to Enhance Public-Private Partnership Transparency

Virginia has announced that it plans to tweak its policies on public-private partnerships to enhance transparency and more precisely assess the risk to the state.

The announcement was made on May 22 in a statement from the office of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).

“Protecting every dollar that Virginia taxpayers send to Richmond is job one for my administration,” McAuliffe said in the announcement.

“P3s are a great tool for accomplishing projects that would not otherwise get done, but only when they are negotiated to put Virginians’ best interests first,” he said.

Virginia is among the top states, along with Texas and Florida, in partnering with private investors to build roads and other transportation facilities. According to the state Department of Transportation, Virginia is working on seven P3 projects that are either under way or in the planning stages.

“While PPTA contracts have made some critical highway projects possible by bringing in private sector equity and innovation, the process needs to be improved to ensure it is used for the right projects and risks are appropriately evaluated and minimized for the public,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said in the announcement.

McAuliffe said Layne will work with the Commonwealth Transportation Board to review Virginia’s approach to P3s, with the goal of increasing public participation in the planning process and finding ways to better determine which projects present a “high risk” to the state.

Recommendations for meeting those goals are to be presented by the board in October 2014. CTB members William Fralin and Marty Williams will coordinate the review process.