Three years later, the province’s auditor general said the

Prince George’s should think twice before turning to private investors for schools

Jeremy Mohler is communications director of In the Public Interest, a national think tank that studies public goods and services.

The Trump White House has yet to deliver on its promise to rebuild America’s infrastructure, yet its favored goose outlet canada tool to get the job done the public private partnership is about to be wielded a few miles away.

Prince George’s County is sprinting toward becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to use a public private partnership to build and maintain public canada goose outlet uk review school buildings. Last year, the Prince George’s County Council unanimously voted to establish a work group to explore such contracts, in which the government borrows money directly from private investors. Now, the county is in the beginning stages of procuring an estimated $350million to build five to seven new schools this fall.

Who doesn’t want new schools? But there’s a reason the county would canada goose outlet online store review be the first in the nation to build schools using what is fast becoming a controversial procurement method in fact, a number of reasons.

Public private partnerships are often more expensive and riskier than borrowing money with cheap, tried and true municipal bonds. They also tend to keep the community canada goose outlet in montreal and public employees in the dark, especially before a contract is signed.

Prince George’s residents and school staff deserve to know why the county is planning to sign a pricey contract that will stretch for decades. What risks are involved? How is it better than the alternatives? What strings will be attached?

uk canada goose outlet In 1999, Nova Scotia signed a public private partnership to build more than two dozen schools. A decade later, the provincial auditor determined the public could have saved $52million if it had gone canada goose outlet the traditional route. The auditor found mismanagement, few checks and balances, and a lack of maintenance. Many workers hired by the private investors had not cleared criminal or child abuse checks as was required. Most fire inspections had not been carried out. uk canada goose outlet

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canada goose In 2017, Nova Scotia announced it was buying back 10 schools from private investors because it was cheaper than leasing them. canada goose

Similar stories about other types of infrastructure abound worldwide.

Since 1992, the United Kingdom has signed public private partnerships for everything from trains to hospitals yielding infrastructure valued at more than $71billion. Yet, the British public will end up paying more than five times that amount in the long run. This caused Britain’s Conservative Party to recently abandon signing public private partnerships altogether. It’s been estimated that the investors could make at least $11.6billion in total over the life uk canada goose sale of the 75 year deal, 10 times what they paid up front to the city.

canada goose uk shop An Indiana toll road project spearheaded by then Gov. Mike Pence failed in 2017 as the private investors that financed it slid toward bankruptcy. The deal was $137.3 million more expensive than if the state had used traditional public financing. canada goose uk shop

canada goose uk outlet If those numbers don’t scare you, the risks should. All three major credit ratings agencies consider public private partnership obligations in their calculation of a county or cheap canada goose state’s debt, which ultimately impacts the government’s overall cost of borrowing. canada goose uk outlet

buy canada goose jacket cheap The District recently wised up to this reality. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) established a dedicated office for public private partnerships back in 2014. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt subsequently decided that money borrowed through public private partnerships would be considered debt, which means it counts toward the District’s debt limit. The office has yet to execute a contract. buy canada goose jacket cheap

Public private partnerships also present additional issues to communities, including a lack of transparency.

Canada Goose online When Chicago signed away its parking meters, canada goose outlet near me the city’s council members had only two days to evaluate and dig into the contract’s details. They could not have estimated that parking rates would double within a year to deliver revenue for the private investors. Canada Goose online

canada goose coats on sale Prince George’s County hired Jones Lang LaSalle to consult on public private partnerships. In a now notorious plan in Tennessee, the company received consulting contracts with the state under the governorship of billionaire Bill Haslam while proposing that the state outsource virtually every job at state run facilities to itself. canada goose coats on sale

Perhaps Prince George’s County’s experiment will end up being a bargain. Maybe the county will right the ship for public private partnerships after decades of failure around the globe. But the public deserves to know the stakes of the deal before it signs on the dotted line.

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