David Alvarez has left his post as head of the Public-Private Partnerships Authority (PPPA or P3A) of Puerto Rico following the election of a new government there and taken a job in the private sector.
Alvarez has signed on with New York-headquartered Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), the global engineering and construction management concern and subsidiary of infrastructure developer Balfour Beatty.
Parsons Brinckerhoff appointed Alvarez principal consultant, noting in a press statement he will be “taking a lead” in its public-private partnership (PPP or P3) business. Alvarez will be based in Washington, D.C., and report to Matt Bieschke, vice president of PB Consult.
In a telephone interview with Infrastructure Investor, Alvarez characterised his exit from the PPPA as a “mutual decision,” pointing out newly elected governor of Puerto Rico Alejandra Garcia Padilla is figuring out how to incorporate the Authority in his administration.
“The new administration is aware of the value of the P3A and the PPP model,” Alvarez said. “[For me], it was a good time to move on. We accomplished a lot with the first phase of the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority”.
A spokeswoman for the P3A did not respond to a request for comment. It could not be determined who would be appointed to replace Alvarez, or if or when the Authority would name an executive director.
A civil servant educated in America, Alvarez worked for the Development Bank of Puerto Rico before becoming executive director of the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority, a government agency created by Luis Fortuno.
Fortuno was elected governor of Puerto Rico in 2009. His administration ratified ‘Act 29,’ enabling the Caribbean island and US territory to involve the private sector in the provision of public infrastructure.
Under executive director Alvarez, the P3A privatised Puerto Rico Highway 22 (PR-22) and Puerto Rico Highway 5 (PR-5) in a $1.4 billion concession agreement with Abertis and Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners (GSIP II).
‘Nuevo Comienzo,’ a juvenile detention center and the first-ever social infrastructure P3 in Puerto Rico, also commenced while Alvarez was leading the PPPA.
But a $2.5 billion deal to lease Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (LMM) to a private operator might go down as the most significant P3 Alvarez and his agency completed.
Its 40-year lease to consortium Aerostar Airport Holdings made LMM the first-ever US air field to be privatised under the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Airport Privatisation Pilot Program.
The deal was finalised in 2013 after Alejandro Garcia Padilla supplanted Fortuno as governor.
Though Garcia Padilla maintained he would uphold the LMM lease, he has been critical of privatising public infrastructure, calling the PPP model appropriate for ‘greenfield’ construction.
For his part, Alvarez noted Parsons Brinckerhoff has been “increasingly focusing” on advisory and financing. He also stressed he was looking forward to putting his experience as head of the P3A to use in working with the public sector.
“I have stood in the same position of many of the people we talk to, and I relate to what they have to go through,” he said.