Developing a P3 Projects Database to Support Transportation Planning and Policy Analysis

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The gap between increasing demand of infrastructure and shrinking funds poses great challenges to the governments of different levels. These governments are turning more to the private sector to help make projects both large and small to be built.  It is suggested that private-public partnership (P3) projects can run more efficiently, be finished under budget and ahead of schedule and can have long term goals of maintaining and operating roads, tolls and bridges. However, many arguments in favor of P3 are anecdotal or based on limited number of case studies. Solid empirical studies and quantitative analysis is lacking in literature, most because of the lack of data. The analysis is further confounded by the diversity of projects in scale, time of completion, functional types, geographic distribution, financial sources, contract types, etc.

Because of these challenges, there have been on consensus on the scale of benefits, if at all, related to P3 in literature. To address this challenge, this project proposes to develop a P3 project database to support transportation planning practice and policy analysis. This project will be review existing data in infrastructure finance and develop a data structure that provides a platform for projects of different size, financial sources, ownership, delivery methods, and age to be compared and analyzed. It will pool data collected from sources such as TIFIA, InfraAmerica, OECD, and others to build an initial database. The database will grow as more P3 project get funded and built. The strength of this database will be demonstrated through case studies and pilot transportation planning and policy analysis. Efforts will be dedicated to explore how qualitative features associated with a project could be quantified and analyzed using latest data mining techniques. Findings from this project will inform future decision makings on infrastructure finance.