Anyone who seeks to identify states that are not only P3-friendly but flexible and innovative in the types of partnerships they’re willing to consider should include Georgia on the list. A new law invites these partnerships to build and maintain public buildings and infrastructure in the face of public funding shortfalls. Separate from the parameters of the new law, the state’s university system is already pursuing an ambitious, long-term project with a private partner to provide and run student housing on almost one-third of its campuses.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s signing of the Partnership for Public Facilities and Infrastructure Act into law on May 5 was a major breakthrough because it allows the state to expand negotiation of P3 projects beyond highways and into public buildings.
The law permits P3s for water, wastewater and solid waste facilities, storm water projects, and a range of social infrastructure projects, such as schools, police stations, courthouses, detention centers and public housing and transportation projects, including airports and railways, reported attorneys Antony Sanacory and William Fagan, III, in a Daily Report blog post (registration required). The law does not cover the financing, construction or management of electricity generating facilities or those that provide communications, cable or video services or contain water reservoirs,
“The primary benefit of the new law, which resembles legislation passed in Virginia, Florida, Texas and other states, is to provide an avenue for the acceptance of unsolicited proposals,” explained the authors. To accept such a proposal, a local agency must adopt model guidelines — which have not yet been drafted — or prepare its own in accordance with requirements governing the proposal consideration process and proposal content, according to a blog post on the Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP website. Competing proposals must be considered over a 90-day period.
The legislation also prohibits the state’s credit from being pledged or loaned to a private firm and no public entity can loan money to a private firm to finance any portion of the project, the Morris, Manning & Martin law firm noted.
Sanacory and Fagan also described the University of Georgia’s November 2014 P3 agreement, through which Corvias Campus Living will develop, build, manage and maintain about 10,000 new and renovated dormitory rooms on nine of the university’s 30 campuses for 65 years. The agreement allows the university to add 3,753 beds and maintain 6,195 existing ones without incurring additional debt and to service $300 million in existing debt.
The authors concluded, “In the face of some daunting infrastructure needs, entities throughout the state of Georgia continue to show a willingness to explore the P3 model as a potential solution for project delivery, with additional P3 projects likely to follow.”
The University of Georgia’s P3 with Corvias Campus Living is one of several student housing P3s that will be discussed during NCPPP’s P3Connect, July 20-22 in Boston. NCPPP also is scheduled to host a P3 Insights Forum in Atlanta in September. The forum will focus on details of the new Georgia law and its potential impact on P3s in the state. More information about the forum will be announced on the NCPPP website.