Rendell urges Texas to use PPPs

TxDOT is allocating some $2bn in public funds to infrastructure in a one-time capital injection. But former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (pictured) reminded Texas of its need for private investors at a recent conference in the state.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is earmarking as much as $2 billion for infrastructure over the next two years to be directed towards high-priority projects. But Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania Governor, is urging the state to leverage public funds with private capital.

At a 2012 transportation forum held in the city of San Antonio, Texas, the former Pennsylvania Governor, who is on a mission to modernise US infrastructure, placed a spotlight on private investors. He reminded TxDOT that the state has less than half of the capital it requires to upgrade its ailing infrastructure in coming years.

“We have got to get the private sector involved,” Rendell pleaded.  “Texas was a leader in PPPs […] in the previous decade. People looked to Texas, but somehow you slowed down the pace. Maybe a couple of deals didn't go so well, but that happens in everything. We can't have the infrastructure we need without private sector participation.”

Texas says it is making more effective use of tax dollars and anticipates a wave of federal funding to comprise the $2 billion.

Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director, commented about the one-time public funding in a press release:  “This additional one-time funding provides great opportunity to accelerate some of the state’s most critical projects. We must ensure these dollars are put to the best use throughout Texas.”

Texas continues to identify the high priority projects that are eligible for the financing. TxDOT did not return calls seeking comment in time for publication.