Friday, February 23, 2007

The Roads Ahead (II) - Another Way

Submitted by Paul Ellis

With construction and real estate costs rising much faster than inflation--and the resulting uncertainty over how future projects will be funded--Washington State policymakers are looking for effective new financing alternatives. Greater use of public-private partnerships may be a more attractive alternative than some of the taxes and fees under consideration in Olympia during this current Legislative Session.

One Pierce County group, the Plateau Transportation Partnership (PTP), is pioneering another alternative. The PTP consists mostly of residential and commercial development enterprises, including Quadrant Homes, Miles Sand & Gravel, Cascadia, Falling Water and Plateau 465 (a partnership between Investco Financial, Tucci & Sons, Inc., and Homeland Ventures).

The PTP, led by former Pierce County Engineer Tom Ballard, proposes to pool resources from a public/private partnership to build and finance projects. While Washington State has been slow to fully embrace such partnerships, the tool has been used across the country because of its effectiveness and ability to reduce costs and construction times.

Paul Ellis is lead staff for RAMP; an employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Ellis led the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Committee (PCTAC), the community's largest transportation planning effort.

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