Key Missouri officials learned about the benefits public-private partnerships (P3s) bring to communities at a summit hosted by law firm Husch Blackwell in Denver on June 9 and 10, 2016.
“The P3 delivery model is an emerging tool for repairing and replacing aging infrastructure. It transfers risk, provides a life-cycle project delivery system and the private investment needed to replace shrinking public funds for these projects,” said Jim M. Mulligan, a host of the summit and a partner in Husch Blackwell’s Denver office who is active in the P3 market.
Summit attendees heard success stories from Denver officials about completed P3 and P3-like projects in the city and county of Denver, including the complete redevelopment of Denver’s Union Station, Colorado Department of Transportation infrastructure projects and Denver Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks transit system development. Updates were also presented on forthcoming projects such as Denver International Airport’s Great Hall redevelopment and Panasonic’s “Smart City” project at Peña Station, a stop on FasTracks’ new A line route.
Husch Blackwell has enabled and promoted the use of P3s for major construction and renovation projects in Denver, as well as in Kansas City. The success of these projects points to greater possibilities for successful P3 developments that could drive economic growth in Missouri, most notably St. Louis. P3 is one of the tools that could be considered as St. Louis decides how to finance, build and operate the north-south extension of MetroLink, St. Louis’ regional light rail transit system.
Hart Nelson, vice president of public policy for the St. Louis Regional Chamber and a summit attendee, said, “We know that St. Louis needs significant investment in infrastructure that creates jobs and connects where people live with centers of employment and education. Denver realized early on that traditional and historic approaches to infrastructure funding and financing just weren’t enough. Our region needs to learn from their experience and take advantage of these innovative public-private delivery models to build the infrastructure that will truly drive economic growth.”
“We are exploring all ways--traditional and innovative--to deliver the transportation options our citizens need and want, and that are essential to growing our economy and creating jobs," said summit attendee John Nations, president and CEO of Metro Transit in St. Louis.
"If we depend solely on the old ways of funding infrastructure, our roads, bridges, transit and other transportation systems will fail us. And we won't be able to expand transit, bike infrastructure or make public safety enhancements. The private sector in St. Louis is innovating. So should the public sector," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who also attended the summit.
Firm organizers called the P3 summit a success. “We are excited to have had the opportunity to share in a conversation with industry leaders so that all of the communities we call home can better compete for the future,” said Charles Renner, partner in Husch Blackwell’s Real Estate, Development & Construction group and leader of the firm’s P3 practice.
“The P3 summit was a great opportunity to look at successful public-private-partnership case studies and understand how P3s add value in addressing infrastructure needs,” said Jay Atkins, senior counsel in Husch Blackwell’s Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation group.