First P3 Agency Created Ripple Effect

By Nolan Miles
P3 Kentucky Staff Writer

Washington, D.C., was the first to establish a city organization devoted entirely to the creation of public-private partnerships. Called the Office of Public-Private Partnerships (OP3), D.C. paved the way for other cities alike to establish similar agencies to address the growing infrastructure needs across the country.

A major hurdle to overcome for the first agency of its kind was explaining to other city agencies what OP3 was, in addition to explaining the opportunities for citywide development using the P3 model.

“It was a learning curve for everyone,” Seth Miller Gabriel, OP3 executive director says. “It took some education with some agencies. Some agencies, at first, were a little hesitant. We’ve definitely changed that as we’ve had some successes with these projects.”

Once legislation passed in 2014 approving the creation of OP3 under the City Administrator, experts began looking at other countries and their P3 model agencies as inspiration for OP3 including Ontario, Quebec, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the World Bank. A ripple effect ensued, prompting places like nearby Fairfax, Virginia to establish their own P3 administration.

Utilizing public-private partnerships to complete the Reston Station, a model of the cities “suburban-to-urban transformation,” Fairfax built parking garages, offices spaces, transit lines and residential property near the Dulles International Airport.

“Through a longer-term vision, instead of just using the parcel on our site to provide the needed parking, we also wanted to use it to help transform that area of Reston to more of a transit-oriented development, and be able to put higher-density office and apartment buildings in close proximity to the Metro,” Scott Sizer, P3/Joint-Ventures Policy Coordinator for the Office of the County Executive says.

To read more about the OP3 ripple effect, click here.

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