Public-private partnerships legislation clears first hurdle in House committee

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee overwhelmingly passed House Bill 309, public-private partnership (P3) legislation, Tuesday after testimony from bill sponsor Rep. Leslie Combs and Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson.

In her testimony on the bill, Rep. Combs said P3 legislation is needed to help bring a clear process for these types of public-private partnerships in a time when budget constraints on governments are hurting prospects for important projects and P3s could help.

“We have really really tried hard to create a very transparent piece of legislation that protects those governmental agencies but most importantly protects the people but gives them much-needed project infrastructure and/or services in their communities or areas of government that, folks, we may not otherwise be able to get right now in this day and age with the financial constraints we find ourselves in at the federal level, the state level, and the local level,” Combs said.

Rep. Combs and state Sen. Max Wise have filed House and Senate P3 bills for state agencies and transportation. P3 legislation seeks to provide an explicit framework for the use public-private partnerships as an alternative method of procurement, construction, or financing of capital projects and services by state government.

Kentucky Chamber President Dave Adkisson told the committee Tuesday that the legislation will advance private sector ingenuity and job growth to public projects and services while offering a transparent mechanism for projects and services at the state and local level.

“It brings a whole new level of transparency to these deals, which I think would bring the taxpayer confidence. So, at a time when money is tight, you all know that better than I do money is very tight at the state level and the local level, we need to have all the tools in the toolkit can get in order to do sewer systems, industrial parks, libraries, roads, parks, you name it,” Adkisson said.

Watch testimony from Combs and Adkisson in the video below:

Rep. Combs also answered a question from fellow state Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington who read a letter from her constituent expressing opposition to P3 legislation. Combs responded by saying she understands why the constituent has concerns but what they are worried about is what exists in the current system, which is why the legislation is needed.

Hear the exchange between Westrom and Combs in the video below:

House Bill 309 now heads to the full House for a floor vote. The Senate’s P3 bill still awaits a hearing in committee.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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