Jane Garvey, the North American Chair of Meridiam Infrastructure, knows a thing or two about public/private partnerships (“P3”). Meridiam is one of the country’s leaders in P3 projects, from compiling the P3 team and fertilizing it with ideas and experience to investing in the enterprise as a shareholder or lender. Jane is their top person in North America and shared her thoughts with me about Florida’s potential for P3 development. In this blog post and some that will follow, I will share her thoughts with you.
P3s are not ideal for every job. They’re more appropriate for large, complex, innovative projects not neatly fitting into traditional capital programs. The project must be critical to the public owner, as criticality will ensure the facility will be operated for the long-term, thus generating the necessary operational revenue to repay private investors and contractors for their risks. Criticality also ensures strong public sector buy-in, as lack of public commitment to the job may dilute the prospects of success. Historically, critical projects have included transportation as well as social infrastructure, such as schools, courthouses, and teaching hospitals.
The proposed P3 project must have a good revenue stream or it won’t attract investors or lenders. Stable revenue tied to the job, such as shares of federal funds, sales taxes or impact fees, will lure investors. Riskier prospects may deter investors. Without private funding, the P3 delivery method will fail, so it is important for funding to be attracted through assurances of stable revenue sources from which investors may earn an appropriate return on their investment.