Awards Highlight Examples of Successful P3s

Water, university and transportation projects show variety in partnerships

By Ed Green
P3 Kentucky Editor

Kentucky is still feeling its way through the learning process for developing and launching successful public-private partnerships, as we test their viability on projects in state parks expansionsoffice buildings in Frankfort and for the social infrastructure in Madison. However, there are plenty of examples of transformational projects across the country that can serve as education and inspiration for community leaders and private partners in the Bluegrass state.

This fall, the annual P3 Awards were held in Washington, D.C., to recognize some of the successful projects that are transforming infrastructure in North America. Three of the winning projects illustrate how P3s might be used in Kentucky.

Best Utilities Project: Vista Ridge Regional Supply Project

Water supply is vital to the success of local economies, and the leaders in San Antonio realized protecting their access to this precious commodity is a significant need. San Antonio Water System is working with a private partner to develop 142 miles of pipeline to buy and transport water, increasing capacity to by 20 percent.

Click here for related story on how Shelbyville, Ky., is ensuring its access to drinking water by partnering with Louisville Water Company.

The Vista Ridge Supply Project will provide enough capacity for 162,000 new families and ensure that San Antonio has the water it needs to support anticipated growth. The project is being financed over 30 years by regulated rate increases, but the community only pays for the water it uses, shifting the financial risk primarily to the private developer.

Best Transportation Project: Transform 66

This project in Northern Virginia is utilizing toll revenue to reinvest in multimodal solutions aimed to ease congestion in the Interstate 66 corridor around the nation’s capital. Among the solutions offered through the partnership are:

  • Additional express and high-occupancy vehicle lanes
  • Expanded bus service
  • Upgraded and expanded bikeways and pedestrian access
  • Intersection enhancements on parallel roads
  • Improvements to Metro service
  • Incentives to carpool or vanpool

Best Social Infrastructure Project: University of California Merced 2020 Project

This is an example of how higher-education institutions have embraced P3 projects to expand their infrastructure while dealing with tight budget restraints. Much like the University of Kentucky has done with EdR and Messer Construction Co. to expand its student housing , UC Merced is working with private partners to add classrooms, labs, housing, and amenities to enhance student life and expand access. The $1.3 billion in construction costs will be financed through a mix of fund-raising, upfront investments by the developer and a relatively small investment by the institution. The private developer will design, finance, build, operate and maintain the major building systems and be repaid through availability payments.

These are just a few of the major infrastructure projects across the country that are being developed using the P3 model. As many advocates for P3s have said, it’s not the right model for every major project but one worth considering – especially for projects that can protect and transform campuses, communities and counties.

P3 Kentucky was created to educate, inspire and connect leaders with resources, so if you have a question about where to go next, please reach out: (502) 544-2917 or

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