Georgia transportation board selects PPP chair

The board, which oversees the state’s department of transportation, has appointed Brandon Beach as the head of its PPP committee. Since enacting legislation to enable PPPs in 2009, the state has begun to pursue three major projects.

The Georgia State Transportation Board, which governs Georgia’s Department of Transportation, has tapped Brandon Beach to chair its public-private partnership committee.

The public-private partnership (PPP) committee is responsible for securing and guiding private sector investment in major Georgia transportation projects. It oversees the department’s PPP programme, which is headed by Sandra Burgess.

Beach has served on the 13-member transportation board, which is elected by the Georgia General Assembly, since 2008 and was previously a member of its legislative and PPP committees, according to a statement. He is replacing David Doss, whose term expired earlier this month.

“He’s already been intimately involved through his membership on the committee and has a great understanding of the intricacies and nuances necessary for a successful [PPP] program,” Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Vance Smith said in an email.

Under Georgia’s current PPP law, enacted in 2009, Georgia has begun several PPPs. A year ago, the DOT began procuring the $2.3 billion West by Northwest managed lanes and toll road development in metropolitan Atlanta. The DOT has also selected a preferred bidder to negotiate a contract to build a rail and bus terminal in downtown Atlanta, and issued a request for qualifications for the maintenance and operation of highway toll areas and welcome centres.

David Spear, spokesperson for the DOT, said the state is looking at a long list of “potential privatisation [PPP] projects” in addition to the PPPs already in procurement. “Most of them are around Atlanta where we have our heaviest traffic loads and the heaviest potential customer base for managed lanes and toll lanes,” Spear said.

In a statement, Beach called PPPs a “linchpin for Georgia, and in particular Metropolitan Atlanta”, because they will help implement “extraordinarily expensive” transportation infrastructure projects.

Georgia is one of several states to enact legislation enabling public-private partnerships in recent years. Georgia’s 2009 legislation came a few months after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a similar proposal into law. Arizona also enacted public-private partnership legislation that year. And Ohio Governor John Kasich last month signed a $6.8 billion transportation budget that includes provisions for public-private partnerships.

Georgia had previously pursued PPPs under 2003 legislation, which was replaced by a 2009 bill that reformed its PPP process and led to the creation of the PPP programme within the Georgia DOT.