When it comes to public private partnerships, allocation of risk is critical

As cash-strapped state and federal agencies look increasingly towards public private partnerships to fund projects, panelists at the “P3s & Building for Tomorrow” forum agreed project risks need to be allocated between all parties if the partnership is to work.

Kevin Keller, with Kansas City-based HDR Engineering, says his company looks at all different perspectives and meets with all partners involved with a public private partnership, also known as a P3, to understand what they need as a return on investment to be involved.

“It’s got to be the right project,” Keller told the audience at a forum that was part of the Louisiana International Trade Week program. “Not every project will work with a P3 market. It’s got to be tailored just right.”

Paul Cristina, director of public private partnerships for BNSF Railway Company, says railways are typically averse to risk so when his company walks into a room for a P3 deal, that deal has been completely vetted throughout the entire organization and they’re absolutely sure it will benefit them.

“When we think of a good P3, it’s when the railroad can make a needed and necessary capacity gain in a key territory,” Cristina says.

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