Illinois mulls expanding P3 authorisation

New proposed legislation calls for the creation of a state-run office overseeing public-private partnerships.

Following on a 2011 law that paved the way for P3s in transportation projects, the Prairie State looks to open up other sectors to private finance. 

The Public-Private Partnerships Act, introduced by State Senator Heather Sterns and co-sponsored by Senator Karen McConnaughay last month, would create a state-run Office of Public-Private Partnerships within the executive branch. Its aim would be to establish best practices and assist smaller government bodies around the state in managing their capacity for procuring P3s. 

The bill would allow any public agency, with approval from the office, to enter into P3 agreement with any private entity “for improving transportation assets, public buildings, public services, or other public assets”. 

The legislation also calls for the creation of a Local Alternative Procurement Fund within the state treasury that would provide public agencies with capital to develop, finance and operate P3-able assets.

Public assets specifically defined within the legislation include parks, clean and waste water systems, energy and transportation assets, telecommunications facilities and any other asset owned by a public agency. Public buildings identified include schools, community centres, fire and police stations, community colleges, hospitals and libraries.

The vintage 2011 Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Act has already cleared the way for the state to promote development, financing and operation of transportation facilities serving the public by private entities.

The bill, SB 3277 of the 99th General Assembly, was assigned to the Commerce and Economic Development committee for review on 8 March. It would become effective on 1 July if passed through the full legislature and signed by the state governor.