The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) released its official policy on the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the future of freight infrastructure network, making specific policy recommendations to guide the development of any PPP arrangement. The paper calls attention to the necessary role PPPs playas part of an overall infrastructure system and emphasizes the need to distinguish between PPPs and tolling - one form PPP investment can take. “There are many forms of PPPs and ways for the public and private sectors to collaborate as partners to leverage and supplement scarce public resources, while protecting and promoting the public interest,” said Mortimer Downey, who helped develop the policy paper. Downey, who serves as the Coalition’s Chairman, is President, PB-Consult, Inc. and a former US Deputy Secretary of Transportation.

According to the CAGTC position paper, the development of our nation’s transportation infrastructure has historically been a joint venture between the public and the private sectors. Freight mobility projects, which tend to be large and complex, are particularly well suited to PPPs. In recent years, private investment has delivered substantial capacity enhancement, safety and environmental benefit with the development and operation of marine and intermodal terminals and facilities.

In its paper, the Coalition cautions against unduly restrictive policies and regulations, which could constrain important freight infrastructure. Instead, the Coalition recommends ten guidelines to assist policy makers form PPPs that help leverage public dollars while ensuring a quantifiable public benefit, with little or no diminution of the utilization of the asset.

“Transportation planners at the federal, state and local levels should have access to the largest possible toolbox of financing mechanisms, strategies and options,” said Coalition Rail Committee Chairman Ray Chambers, who co-authored the piece with Downey. “However, officials must remember that PPPs should not be viewed as a replacement for traditional public funding approaches.”

The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) is a diverse coalition of more than 40 organizations dedicated to increasing federal investment in America’s intermodal freight infrastructure, In contrast to single mode interests, CAGTC’s main mission is to promote a seamless goods movement transportation system across all modes to enhance capacity and economic growth.