Purdue University President Mitch Daniels’ work toward successful public-private partnerships (P3s) continues to earn recognition nationally for bringing creative and innovative solutions to the challenges of paying for and completing public projects. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) recently honored Daniels as its P3 Entrepreneur of the Year, an award that was presented in Washington, D.C., at the ARTBA annual conference. The award, specifically tied to the State Street Redevelopment Project, recognizes an outstanding individual in the public or private sector who has made significant contributions to the development, growth and public education of P3s in transportation. Also this year, Daniels received the Overall P3 Champion award at the Joint PBBC/InfraAmericas P3 conference in New York City. The Performance Based Building Coalition was the key sponsor of the award, presented in recognition of Daniels’ visionary leadership in U.S. infrastructure and P3 markets.
Daniels has long championed the need to leverage private sector innovation for public benefit, specifically in public infrastructure projects and improvements. He has testified before Congress about the state of U.S. infrastructure and the need for leveraging private-sector investment and innovation in these markets. Over the course of his years as Indiana’s governor and now as president at Purdue, Daniels provided leadership and oversight of multiple projects that led to the biggest boom in transportation construction in the state’s history. According to a recent ranking by CNBC, Indiana now ranks No. 1 in the country for the quality of the state’s infrastructure network.
Indiana’s ascent in such rankings was made possible by the lease of the Indiana Toll Road, a public-private partnership that generated $3.85 billion in cash for the state, as well as millions of dollars’ worth of future maintenance. After paying off existing debt on the road, Daniels directed that all of the lease funds be used to finance a 10-year transportation plan known as Major Moves, and an ongoing $500 million trust fund to augment future state infrastructure budgets. The Indiana Department of Transportation reports that since 2006, Major Moves enabled the rehabilitation or replacement of 1,400 state bridges (one in four in the entire state), the preservation of 67,300 miles of roadway and the addition of 104 new roadways including several “mega-projects” such as the long-awaited Interstate 69 expansion and the Hoosier Heartland Corridor.
The lease also permitted Indiana to enter into another P3 to build two bridges that connect Southeastern Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky. Under the agreement, a private partner took on the risk of building and financing the bridges while Indiana agreed to make payments to the partner as construction progressed and operations meet expectations. The first bridge opened in December 2015 and the second will open about a year later.
As president of Purdue, Daniels also launched a P3 agreement to enhance and beautify the corridor through Purdue’s campus and the West Lafayette community. The first of its kind in a town-gown partnership, the State Street project is a collaboration with the City of West Lafayette to create economic vitality and optimize the abundant assets that Purdue and West Lafayette represent. “P3s help us diversify risks across sectors and allow public investments to go further,” Daniels said. “Best of all, they harness the potential of private dollars to avoid new taxpayer debt. We now have multiple examples of what can be accomplished when creative funding and project delivery ideas are brought to bear for public benefit. There is near unanimous consensus among economists and policy experts that smart investments in infrastructure are essential for our economy and our future. While P3s may not be a complete answer for all our challenges, we do believe governments and public institutions are unlikely to find complete answers without them.”
Source: Mitch Daniels, firstname.lastname@example.org