Advancing Public Interest in Public-Private Partnerships of State Highway Development

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 1:00pm

About the Event

In response to an increasing demand for new capacity on highways, many states are exploring Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in state highway development. PPPs allow public agencies to access private project financing and specialized expertise, often resulting in saved public investment, expedited project completion, and improved service quality and diversity. However, the confusion and controversy surrounding recent concession cases in the United States has led to widespread public concern and legislative caution on the question of whether a PPP project is advancing the public interest.

In this seminar, Jerry Zhao will report on a study of public interest associated with PPPs in terms of both outcome and procedure. For each PPP option, the study analyzed public benefits, associated risks, and possible approaches to mitigate these risks. Research also included an archive study to examine related public concerns and discuss potential strategies to address these concerns at different stages of PPP decisions.

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Jerry Zhao is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. His research focuses on local and nonprofit financial issues, including the mechanisms used by local governments and nonprofit agencies to generate sufficient revenues, how the financial structure of public or nonprofit organizations affects the pattern and effectiveness of public service delivery, and how public and nonprofit organizations interact in budgetary and service decision making.