North America faces a problem of replacing its aging infrastructure. Global, national, state, and local financial issues have put a squeeze on capital budgets with unemployment and the aging population reducing taxation revenue at all levels. Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) offer a way to help ensure vital infrastructure projects can be built.
In Canada, a number of jurisdictions are using P3s for major capital projects in transportation, health care, wastewater treatment, and public building projects. PCL has been involved in the marketplace for over a decade and has been recognized for successfully completing a number of projects.
Currently, the company is involved in two dozen P3 projects worth more than $5.5 billion.
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS IN ACTION
The Disraeli Bridges Project in Winnipeg, Manitoba is a perfect example of how the private sector can work together with government to build a public asset that will be in use for decades.
PCL joined forces with design and financing partners and won the bidding process to replace the existing the Disraeli Freeway, which is now fifty years old. The project includes building a new four-lane vehicle bridge east of the existing structure, demolishing the current bridge, and building a second bridge for pedestrians and bicycles.
The City of Winnipeg says the P3 method was chosen because the model “provides more benefits to the public purse, compared to conventional methods. Those benefits include transfer of up-front financing costs and of risk to the private sector, reliability of overall project cost, and transfer of maintenance cost risks (such as unexpected price increases) to the private sector partner for the term of the contract.”
The structures have also been designed to allow for future expansion of the Disraeli Freeway to six lanes through the widening of the spans within the right-of-way. The creativity and expertise the private sector brings to the project is highlighted in the plans to use the old bridge piers to support a separate pedestrian/cycling bridge.
And, more importantly, something every commuter appreciates…no traffic closures during peak hours.