NCPPP Member Spotlight
Teno West, Esq., Managing Partner, West Group Law PLLC
We are headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., and we have offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and North Attleboro, Mass. We represent clients throughout the country.
Describe your company’s work in P3s:
We have served as legal counsel to state and local governments on numerous public-private partnership transactions, including with respect to water and wastewater facilities, solid waste facilities, energy transactions and initiatives, transportation projects and large scale recreational facilities. We have experience with design and implementation of required regulatory and legislative frameworks; management contracts and institutional privatization arrangements; contractual drafting and negotiation; and guidance regarding post-privatization issues.
Why did you join NCPPP and what benefits do you see in your association with the Council?
I joined NCPPP to help educate communities around the country that are considering utilizing public-private partnerships to meet their infrastructure and service needs. NCPPP provides an excellent platform for me to share my experiences advising on previous P3 matters, and it also allows me to learn from other members and their experiences on previous projects.
Do you have any thoughts on the current status of the P3 market and the types of opportunities or trends that are likely to emerge in the near future?
We’re encouraged to see continued expanded use of public-private partnerships throughout the country. With more and more successful ventures, public-private partnerships are becoming more the norm than the exception. In Pennsylvania, for example, we’ve seen a number of recent water and wastewater P3 efforts, including in Allentown, Middletown, and Scranton. Recognizing the value of P3s, Pennsylvania has enacted a number of laws and policies that make P3 arrangements a much more attractive option for both public and private entities. On the other hand, some states are a bit more reluctant to fully embrace the P3 model for their infrastructure and service needs. New York, for example, only expressly authorizes P3 arrangements for specific projects, such as the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, notwithstanding the near universal praise for that P3 project. Nevertheless, we are optimistic that the use of P3 arrangements will expand in New York thanks to the continuing support and efforts of the Cuomo administration.
What are the biggest challenges the P3 community faces and how should they be addressed?
The biggest challenge we typically encounter is restrictive procurement laws that make implementation of P3 projects difficult. In states without express P3 authorization, communities must structure their transactions in a creative way to achieve the benefits of a P3 transaction. An additional challenge is to ensure that P3s are perceived in a fair way. Often, there is opposition to the use of P3s and they can be perceived in a negative light through misinformation. So it is a constant struggle to ensure that communities that are on the fence about P3s are presented with objective facts about their pros and cons. P3s may not be right for every project, and we always stress that P3s do not result in “free money,” which is a common misperception. To combat this challenge, I have been pleased to work as a member of NCPPP to continue to educate communities throughout the country on P3 matters.