public-private partnerships bill for the construction of roads and broadband infrastructure advances in new mexico legislature
A bill allowing for state government agencies to pursue both road building and broadband infrastructure projects with private parties has won the approval of the New Mexico State House of Representatives.
Lawmakers say the existence of such partnerships may be exactly what the state needs as it confronts a backlog of road and broadband infrastructure work.
In particular, House Bill 286 could help cities and counties with smaller populations in the state to finance needed road and infrastructure work.
As envisioned, the legislation would allow for the creation of partnerships under the approval and guidance of the New Mexico Finance Authority.
An analysis of the bill prepared by the Legislative Finance Committee noted that it brings with it a $40 million public-private partnership fund.
The legislation would additionally set up a public private partnership board tasked with evaluating proposed projects.
That same analysis notes that while such partnerships can be complicated, passage of the legislation would provide “governmental entities and private developers with a clear transparent set of guidelines, under which these partnerships can operate to ensure the public’s interests are served.”
The bill passed the House on a 64 to 0 vote and is now up for consideration in the Senate.
To date, at least 35 states have on the books enabling legislation allowing for the formation of such partnerships to build needed transportation and communications infrastructure.
One of the attractions of such partnerships, according to a 2016 Syracuse University study, is that there is a “significantly higher likelihood of meeting cost and schedule objectives” compared with strictly government projects.
The legislature is scheduled to wrap up its work on March 16.
By Garry Boulard
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