P3s in Motion Conference

P3s in Motion Conference

Transport Futures heartily thanks everyone who joined us at the P3s in Motion Conference on May 4.  You collectively broke attendance records with a total of 136 participants -- 18 expert speakers (including 4 provincial politicians), 112 enthusiastic delegates and 7 generous sponsors

In this era of government deficits, crumbling infrastructure and “revenue tool” politics, we used empirical research, practical case studies and interactive discussion to examine whether road and transit public-private partnerships (P3s) can, in fact, provide better value than delivery using traditional government procurement methods.   With a room full of government, business, labour, NGO and academic representatives, we learned that:

  • P3s are not privatization but remain only one procurement model which is most suitable when building large, complex projects.
  • Canada is a P3 leader when it comes to capturing efficiencies and synergies if the correct project is selected and risks (especially political ones) are managed. 
  • government agencies created to screen projects (e.g. Infrastructure Ontario) must quantify and defend value for money more fully, set balanced guidelines without being prescriptive, ensure bids are competitive and refrain from being a P3 promoter.
  • 60-80% of project net present value is design and construction cost/pricing
  • post contract negotiations are extremely pricey.

But several questions and concerns must still be answered and acknowledged:

  • more transportation examples that support P3s are needed – especially where transit is concerned (road projects outnumber transit projects by a wide margin).
  • traditional procurement should be assessed with a similar cost-benefit lens that is transparent.
  • there are challenges pertaining to multiple contracts vs. the benefit of one contract coordination issues.
  • the public must be educated on P3 pros and cons and made aware of contract provisions since strong views exist on both sides of current opinion.
  • the decision making process for opting to use P3s must be critically examined as part of a public consultation process. 

Along with three great articles by Daily Commercial News, we had many enthusiastic conference comments from delegates (90% of whom gave the event an excellent rating):  

  • “Incredible breadth of perspectives represented. Very valuable discussions that contribute to a growing dialogue.” 
  • "Glad it wasn't a "P3 pep rally"!”
  • “Great overview and temperature take on P3s -- very informative.”
  • "I'm a big fan of the panel format. They always lead to interesting debate.”
  • “Good mix/blend of presenters/participants.”
  • “Enjoyed balance of speakers. This really brought out many issues around P3s. Great agenda.”
  • “This is a newer topic for me, I learned quite a lot.”
  • “Great topics with engaging, informed speakers.”

We are now planning a forum on The Future of the Car to take place on September 17, 2015.  Be sure to join our listserv to be kept up-to-date on these learning events!