Global law firm Allen & Overy is cautioning that a spate of “anti-P3 and anti-tolling legislation” is working its way through US Congress and is “all but assured” passage in the Senate.
The firm offered its take Monday in a client memorandum, calling the public-private partnership (PPP) market “vulnerable to a legislative ambush” via a “more inventive and subtle” effort to persuade Capitol Hill to vote against privatisation. By the same token, Allen & Overy cited a “failure…to organise any meaningful opposition” to the pending legislation.
The memo in particular noted a March 8 bill to prohibit tolling Interstate 95 (I-95) in North Carolina by state representative, Republican Renee Ellmers. Ellmers in her bill is aiming to “forbid the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) from approving a pilot program” to toll I-95.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has proposed tolling as a method to improve and widen the corridor. Meanwhile, NCDOT is awaiting approval on an environmental impact statement (EIS) and a FHA review to use a PPP to construct a seven-mile, $500 million tolled bridge across the Currituck Sound inlet in North Carolina.
The firm also cited an anti-tolling act put forward by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a Texas Republican, which is seeking to prevent tolling in any interstate without an existing tolling system. Likewise, a bill proffered by New Mexico Senator Jeffrey Bingaman, a Democrat, is angling to “materially reduce the upfront payment” that a state or municipality would receive for a toll road concession.
“Heightened vigilance” on the part of the industry and public sector is the antidote to stem the wave of anti-PPP lawmaking, according to Allen & Overy. In 2010, Allen & Overy was appointed by the Puerto Rico Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA).