Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Master of Public Financial Management

Committee Chair

Dr. Merl Hackbart

Executive Summary

Many states and cities find themselves facing several serious long‐term public infrastructure challenges due to rising maintenance costs. Infrastructure funding gaps arose from an inefficient approach to public infrastructure development and operation. States and local governments were faced with unfunded pension obligations and as a solution, they diverted tax revenues away from the maintenance and growth of infrastructure. The 2008 economic recession occurred and compounded these problems. Budget studies indicated that states needed new policies and strategies to slow down the pace of spending on infrastructure maintenance as the recession started to subside, further exacerbating the infrastructure funding gap.1 This paper addresses the gap in infrastructure funding needs by identifying the essential role that public‐private partnerships (P3) are now taking in infrastructure facilities that are open to the public for use along with examining opportunities and challenges for this transformative shift in the field. Contextualizing the need of P3 programs within recent developments and tracing the expansion of public‐private partnerships in selected cities both successfully implemented, and failures is considered. In each city highlighted, I discuss the mutual advantages of a public‐private partnership while also illustrating challenges that both public and private entities encountered as they worked to develop and implement the program. Dynamics of the balancing act between the state and local government and private entities in decision making required by public officials when weighing the costs and benefits of 1 Weller, C., Estep, S., & Hendricks, G. (2019 April 2). Budgeting the Future. American Progress. Developing Best Practices for Successful Public‐Private Partnerships 4 accepting private donations is also considered. The paper also discusses the infrastructure funding along with a development approach that minimizes the need for new taxes. A conclusion is reached by discussing the ongoing challenges that need to be considered and addressed for public‐private partnerships to be successful over the long term along with the risks and benefits of having such an agreement.