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Chamber Endorses Public-Private Partnership Legislation

 
The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce endorsed legislation today that would allow public private partnerships in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
 
The local chamber joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors, the Association of General Contractors, and nearly twenty other local chambers of commerce, according to a news release, in expressing support for House Bill 407, filed Wednesday by State Rep. Leslie Combs (D-Pikeville).
 
“Kentuckians deserve to get the best possible return on their hard-earned dollars, especially in times of tight revenue,” Rep. Combs said in a news release. “House Bill 407 will create a way to enhance those returns by increasing the involvement of the private sector in public projects, and in effect, promote job growth.”

Public-private partnerships, or P3, have been floated as a possible way to fund the $2.5 billion Brent Spence Bridge project, a scenario that would include the collection of tolls.

HB 407 would enable the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) by state and local governments, creating a system in Kentucky that already exists in many states. A P3 is a contract between a public entity, such as a state or local government, and a private business, under which the business builds a project or provides a service for the public.
 
“At a time when state dollars are scarce, we applaud the Kentucky General Assembly and specifically Representative Combs for her leadership in putting a tool in our toolbox to leverage the expertise and efficiency of the private sector,” said Debbie Simpson, Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and president of Multi-Craft.
 
“This bill is about creating jobs by leveraging private sector dollars and business expertise. By passing HB 407, Northern Kentucky has the chance to spur development of projects that have long sat idle due to lack of funding," said Jim Parsons, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce business advocacy council chairman and attorney with  Taft, Stettitnius and Hollister. "Partnering with the business community will be a game-changer for Northern Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth."
 
HB 407, introduced to the Kentucky House of Representatives on Wednesday by Combs, is co-sponsored by Reps. Sannie Overly (D-Paris/Majority Caucus Chair), Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook/Majority Floor Leader), Larry Clark (D-Louisville/Speaker Pro Tem), Robert Damron (D-Nicholasville), Tommy Thompson (D-Owensboro/Majority Whip), and House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonburg).
 
The bill reads like this:
 
AN ACT relating to financing of public-private partnerships. 
     Amend KRS 45A.030 and 45A.075 and create a new section of KRS Chapter 45A to define "public-private partnership" and "private partner"; allow the use of a public-private partnership as an alternative method to finance a project; provide for evaluation and oversight, and ratification by the General Assembly; amend KRS 65.025 and create a new section of KRS Chapter 65 to allow the use of a public-private partnership by local governments; provide for evaluation and oversight; provide for a model system for the use of a public-private partnership to be developed; require use of the model and approval by the Finance and Administration Cabinet before a local government can utilize a public-private partnership; create a new section of KRS Chapter 175B and amend KRS 175B.005, 175B.010, 175B.020, 175B.030, 175B.035, 175B.040 and 175B.095 to define "public-private partnership"; and "private partner"; allow the use of a public-private partnership by an authority to provide an alternative structure for developing and financing a major transportation project.