P3 legislation clears Senate panel

03/17/2016 07:18 PM

FRANKFORT – A House bill which opens the door for public-private partnerships to be used to finance various public construction projects was passed by the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism and Labor on Thursday.

House Bill 309, sponsored by Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, would offer an alternative method of procurement, construction, and financing of capital projects and services by state government including transportation, as well as state parks.

Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, who worked with Combs to fine tune the bill, says that the legislation will make a number of projects possible that may not otherwise be able to be completed because of funding.

“Well, you’ve got transportation projects, anything over $100 million, like I said, you’ve got your local projects, over 30 percent, so that could be water, sewer projects for communities,” Wise said.

Combs said that during these tough economic times in the state, P3 legislation can be an alternative mechanism to making projects a reality, that otherwise might not be possible.

“With our commonwealth right now facing the financial constraints that it faces, what people need to understand is P3 does not equal money, it equals a financing tool,” Combs said. “Another financing tool to allow us the ability to do much needed projects or provide services that we can’t otherwise do financially in the state right now.”

The biggest change from the original bill is language that prohibits any authority from authorizing tolls for any project involving the interstate highway system that connects the Commonwealth with the State of Ohio. This was done to protect Northern Kentucky from having tolls levied on a new Brent Spence Bridge.

The bill now moves on to the full Senate chamber for consideration where it’s expected to pass.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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