On time and on budget: very few government projects can claim that distinction. Taxpayers generally expect public projects to be delayed and have major cost overruns. Across the spectrum and around the world, governments at all levels continuously demonstrate their inability to manage big projects and in every instance, it's the taxpayer who is on the hook.
As the demand for infrastructure improvements remains and governments have all but squeezed taxpayers dry, the innovation of the private sector has offered a solution. Public-private partnerships - or P3s - are re-inventing the way government conducts business. Generally speaking, a public-private partnership is a contract between the government and a private partner to provide some good or service. What is unique about a P3 contract is that it has some form of financial and quality assurance for the taxpayer.
For example, a typical P3 sets out a penalty schedule to ensure that the project is delivered on time, on budget and satisfies specific quality standards. Simply put, P3s are contracts that shield taxpayers from budget blowouts and never-ending construction delays. The end result is clear: taxpayers get more for their money, sooner!
The driving force behind public-private partnerships is to find better ways to more effectively mobilize private sector capital and private sector management capabilities for public infrastructure. There are several different kinds of P3s with varying degrees of private sector involvement but one type is used more often than others and has a long history of success.