Jonathan Gifford (SPGIA), Director of the P3 Transportation Center, accompanied by Kerry Bolognese (Director of Federal Relations), visited seven Virginia Congressional offices in July. With the Surface Transportation bill being debated in Congress, Gifford explained the value of P3s in meeting the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs and the potential role of the P3 Center in assessing the quality of proposed P3 projects. The Center was launched with funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia and advances objective consideration of P3s through research, education, and outreach. Gifford shared some of the Center’s accomplishments, including 20 case studies of P3 projects focusing on risk allocation, financial impacts, barriers, and other aspects. Gifford also highlighted the educational component of the Center – training dozens of experts in P3s to fill the workforce. Gifford talked about a new initiative, the P3 Evidence Program, to bring together best practices from academia and the public and private sectors to build evidence for evaluating the efficacy of the P3 approach. This effort is geared specifically toward policymakers who have to make decisions on the value and quality of P3s. P3 contracts may last 50-75 years and valued in the tens of billions of dollars. In the past, the Center has conducted briefings for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, participated in a roundtable conducted by the House P3 Caucus, and Gifford has testified before the House Small Business Committee.
On May 15, Center Graduate Research Associate Nobuhiko Daito was honored with the John E. Peterson Memorial Scholarship in Public Finance Policy. This scholarship is made possible by Mary Peterson and her family, in memory of their husband and father, John, a long-time faculty member and role model for all policy students.
Center Director Jonathan Gifford noted that Daito’s dissertation tackles a topic that was of great interest to John Peterson: public-private partnerships (or PPPs) for delivering infrastructure. Daito’s dissertation investigates private investment in U.S. highways using PPPs, how costs differ when they are used, and how their use affects broader social well-being. Daito is a dynamic and creative scholar, and we expect great things from him in the future. Congratulations Nobuhiko!
On March 30th IBTTA (International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association) held their Washington Briefing during which leaders in the transportation policy debate discussed key policy issues. The event brought together the “who’s who” in transportation and provided a forum to address critical issues with Congress and federal agencies. It also included a Hill visit and content including: Where Tolling Fits in Surface Transportation Policy & Funding; Transportation Authorization in Congress; What Customers, Critics and the Media Think About Tolling and Why; and State and Local Innovations in Surface Transportation Funding. Center Director Jonathan Gifford was invited to speak and his presentation, “Research Underpinnings of Tolling,” educated participants about road pricing, project selection, and the shift in transportation infrastructure. Please use the following link to view the presentation slides: Gifford – IBTTA – 2015-03-30 final.
Center Director Jonathan Gifford accepted an invitation to join the P3 Working Group of the Eno Center for Transportation. Dr. Gifford looks forward to collaborating with industry leaders and policymakers on the Group’s research program, identifying barriers to P3 agreements, developing methods to protect public interests, and advancing consideration of P3s in transportation. Eno is a neutral, non-partisan think tank that promotes policy innovation and provides professional development opportunities across the career span of transportation professionals.
George Mason University’s Jeong Yun (“JK”) Kweun was among the 30 International Road Federation Fellows, representing 22 countries, who took part in the IRF Road Scholar program in January 2015. The 66th class of IRF Fellows participated in the unique ten-day leadership and orientation course in Washington D.C., providing a behind-the-scenes look at the transportation industry. The program is designed to enhance leadership skills and provide valuable insight into policy priorities and processes. The Fellows visited prominent international organizations and met with industry leaders, giving them the tools and networks to become more effective road professionals in their home countries.
Center Director Jonathan Gifford addressed six European government and NGO officers who visited Washington the week of February 9 as guests of the State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). The program focuses on the role of public-private partnerships in restructuring economies. The international guests were Mr. Dael Dervishi from Albania, Executive Director of the National Agency of Natural Resources; Mr. Florian Sebastian Binder from Austria, Personal Assistant to the Secretary General of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology; Ms. Sofia Zacharaki from Greece, International Relations Advisor for the Ministry of Health; Ms. Emilia Malairau from Moldova, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova; Mr.Onur Yildiz from Turkey, Acting Secretary General of the Eastern Mediterranean Development Agency; and Ms. Elvira Gotz from UNESCO, Assistant Program Specialist, Division for Cooperation with Extra-Budgetary Funding Sources.
Professor Gifford’s briefing to the international visitors was titled “US Transportation P3s: Governance and Institutional Arrangements.” He spoke about how financial risk is managed in P3s and how the Center for Transportation PPP Policy’s research and educational programs are being implemented in Virginia.