Legislation aims to lure private investment to infrastructure projects

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(The Center Square) – Illinois lawmakers are making an attempt to get private investment dollars into the state’s infrastructure projects.

The Senate Transportation Committee, along with the Executive Subcommittee on Procurement, held a hearing Monday on Senate Bill 1900, which would create a Pubic-Private Partnership (PPP) and Infrastructure Investment commission that would assist public entities with projects where a public-private partnership could take place.

In a PPP, the private party can finance, build, operate and maintain public infrastructure facilities and provide services usually delivered by government agencies within the community.

Mary Tyler, transportation director with the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, said funding projects from Illinois’ motor fuel tax will become outdated.

“The value of the motor fuel tax will continue to diminish in the future, largely a result of increased vehicle fuel efficiency and the increasing popularity of electric vehicles,” Tyler said. “Consequently, Illinois must continue to pursue innovative funding options to support necessary maintenance of the state’s infrastructure.”

Proponents of public-private partnerships say the arrangement can make a seemingly impossible project a possibility and enables completion of a project within a faster timeline by offering incentives.

Opponents say the infrastructure or service delivered by a private entity can be more expensive, and transparency is also a concern.

In the latest report card on infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Illinois received a grade of C-minus. The state received a D for its roads and transit, and a D-minus for navigable waterways.

“As chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I am committed to exploring new ways to make our transportation network safe and accessible with the absolute stewardship of taxpayer dollars as a top priority,” said Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago.

Politics

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September 27, 2021 at 03:52PM

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