Op-ed: Public-private partnership bill says Ky. is open for business

Public-private partnerships (P3), the Kentucky Chamber’s top legislative priority, was signed into law on Friday.  Read Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson’s op-ed on how this signals that Kentucky is open for business below:

It is unfortunate that politics often seems to trump policy during the General Assembly.

But that was not the case with House Bill 309, a bill establishing a framework for public-private partnerships.

P3s provide a much-needed tool for our state and local governments, especially during tight budget times, which allows them to leverage private investment to complete necessary infrastructure projects and efficiently serve the public.

The Kentucky Chamber is proud to have led the bipartisan effort in the 2016 legislative session to pass a bill that will move the commonwealth forward on many important investments.

Much has been said about the level of transparency in this legislation. To those who might question this, I invite you to read the bill.

The Chamber worked diligently with dozens of coalition members, legislators from both sides of the aisle and Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration to ensure this legislation offers a transparent mechanism for projects and services at both the state and local levels.

We worked hard to ensure this legislation offers the greatest level of taxpayer protections by requiring decisions on P3 projects to be made in the light of day with legislative oversight. House Bill 309 creates a clear process in statute for both government and businesses to follow which levels the playing field for those pursing a P3.

The legislation was crafted to meet public needs while putting our citizens to work. It helps Kentucky-based businesses and our workforce. HB 309 is truly a win-win for Kentucky.

When discussing P3s most people think of transportation projects, but this process also could be used to revitalize our state park system, build water and sewer projects to serve citizens and support businesses expanding and locating in Kentucky, construct local convention space, and bring innovative ideas from the business community to state and local governments.

Thirty-nine other states enjoy the benefits of public-private partnerships, and it was time for Kentucky to do the same. Kentucky will no longer be an island surrounded by states that have a competitive edge over us.

With the passage of HB 309, the legislature sent a strong signal to Kentucky’s business community, local governments, contractors and workforce that Kentucky is open for business and serious about forging ahead to provide needed infrastructure and services in an innovative fashion.

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