New P3 statutes for Washington State have taken a big step forward as working group provision passes the legislature.
The current P3 statues “don’t work”, according to Anthony Buckley, Director of Innovative Partnerships for Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). While noting that P3s are not the right fit for every project, he added: “This conversation is a path forward where we allow ourselves to put P3 in the toolbox and seriously consider it for an appropriate use in the future.”
In its annual transportation appropriations bill (HB1125), the Washington State Legislature included a provision to fund and convene a work group to recommend a new statutory framework for the WSDOT P3 program.
While the formation of study groups is nothing new, an unusual provision in this bill mandates that the group include a “representative of a national nonprofit organization specializing in public-private partnership program development”. This could open the door to organizations such as the Association for the Improvement of American Infrastructure (AIAI), after representatives from that organization gave testimony to the Senate Transportation Committee in February of this year.
The bill passed through the House and is now on the Governor’s desk for signing. Once approved, the work group will have until December 15, 2023 to submit a preliminary report including recommendations of draft legislation.