New Texas law to establish P3 agency

The Center for Alternative Finance and Procurement will evaluate proposals and advise public entities on P3 best practices.

Texas may soon have an agency dedicated to evaluating the use of public-private partnerships (PPP; P3) for the delivery of infrastructure projects thanks to House Bill 2475, which recently passed both the state House of Representatives and the Senate.

The new legislation, which has been sent to Governor Greg Abbott for signing, would create the Center for Alternative Finance and Procurement, which would provide consulting services to state entities on P3 best practices and alternative public infrastructure procurement, the Texas Infrastructure Council, a P3 advocacy group formed in 2014, said in a statement.

“The newly-created Center will help evaluate affordability and bankability issues before embarking on P3 and analyse the enhanced value the P3 proposals may have over traditional procurement to ensure our cities are getting the full picture and are making wise investments,” TIC executive director Tim Merriweather said in the statement, in which he also praised State Representative Charlie Geren, author of the bill, and Senator Kevin Eltife, who sponsored the bill in the state Senate.

According to the statement, the new legislation complements a 2011 state law that allows the use of P3s to deliver vertical building, rail, water, and port construction and infrastructure improvements. If signed by the governor, it would go into effect September 1.

The Center will be based within the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC), which is the real estate representative for the State of Texas in the purchase of buildings, grounds and property, according to the TFC website.