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State Procurement Perspective Represented at the P3 Conference In 2016 alone, three states have approved legislation enabling P3’s; 12 state have pending legislation

Public Private Partnerships (P3s) are getting a lot of attention at all levels of state government as an alternative method of revitalizing infrastructure and financing public improvement projects.  Historically used for infrastructure needs around transportation, P3s are evolving to meet needs in vertical building construction, economic development, and broadband infrastructure.  With this evolution of acquisition methods comes the need for states to understand this trend and how to source, bid, and manage these large scale projects.
At the P3 Conference in Dallas in early March, Jason Soza, Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Alaska and Chair of the Emerging Issues Committee, and Krista Ferrell, Director of Strategic Programs learned more about best practices surrounding this emerging trend.  Among the program topic were discussions on creating and supporting enabling legislation; avoiding pitfalls in planning; bidding, and contract development; and creating stakeholder engagement and support.

Ferrell also participated in a panel discussion on ways the NASPO and states are educating procurement practitioners on P3s; the strategic role of the procurement office in these large scale projects; and establishment of a long term contract management plan and resources to assure performance.

“Three states have passed legislation enabling P3’s with twelve more pending during this legislative session alone.” said Ferrell.  “This trend is expected to only grow in the future as states look for new ways to meeting budget shortfalls and infrastructure needs. Currently, most enacting legislation is project specific; however, a few states are looking at more enabling legislation making P3s another type of procurement method.”

“Public-Private Partnerships have been around for a while and tend to come more into view when funding sources for local and state governments is restricted. At a time when many states are struggling with their budgets, P3’s are starting to pop up on leadership’s radar and like any big project, procurement must be included in the beginning phases rather than at the end. P3 is one more tool to meet a goal, it is not a silver bullet and is not suitable for every project.” Soza stated.  “As a tool, it is important for those involved in procurement to be aware of what a P3 is, when it’s best considered, and who to contact as a resource. P3’s aren’t a DIY process. A knowledgeable team of government representatives, advisers, and vendors is required to be successful.”

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