While transit has principally been considered the realm of the public-sector, new technologies, service providers, and investment models are building the case for private investment in public transportation. The American Public Transportation Association presents a new report that shows the various ways that private investment is becoming more common in public transportation.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is putting the final touches on the reconstruction of U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder, and their efforts to both accommodate and encourage alternatives to driving alone in the corridor seem to be working. Prior to the completion of construction, a two-year social media-based TDM program launched. The TDM program, managed by 36 Commuting Solutions, is showing success at generating mode shift from single-occupancy vehicles to carpooling and transit.
Across modes, the funding paradigm for transportation projects is shifting. As Congress exhibits a lack of appetite for addressing the impending crisis in the gas tax funding model, states and local governments are developing new ways to assemble financing packages for needed infrastructure projects. New strategies often combine previously underutilized local and state sources while tapping the private sector and federal grants to assemble full funding packages.
Development of creative financing and new revenue sources for transportation projects remains a hot topic in transportation circles. Public-private partnerships exist in highway transportation, often using tolls as the revenue source to attract private investment. Transit P3s, however, remain behind the curve in development of policies and best practices. A P3 proposed for the Purple Line light rail in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, illustrates new opportunities for funding a major capital transit investment with a combination of public and private funding.
Many agencies have been slow to adopt a public private partnership model for transportation financing, which offers both funding opportunities and shortened timelines. One problem is that municipalities and states may not have the capacity to match the right private partner to the appropriate project and assess taxpayer impacts. Is it time to consider dedicated offices to handle P3s?
The report focuses on the state of public transportation in America, and offers analysis of issues important to private investors when they weight the potential for investment into the expansion or maintenance of a transit …