For his December 30, 2016 article “OUTLOOK: Interstate Tolls Could Fuel Trump’s P3 Plan,” Bond Buyer author Jim Watts quotes Center director Jonathan Gifford regarding infrastructure financing and the challenges associated with transportation user fees.
As the country ponders President Trump’s infrastructure plans, Center Director Jonathan Gifford weighed in for Bloomberg reporter Mark Niquette’s January 27, 2017 piece, “To Toll or Not to Toll Is Question for Trump Infrastructure Plan.”
“From a policy perspective, tolling makes a lot of sense,’’ said Jonathan Gifford, director of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy at George Mason University. “It’s a heavy lift to say to the public, to elected officials, ‘We’re now going to start imposing a toll to improve a facility that you’ve been using without paying tolls for decades.’’’
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Graduate Research Associate Jeong Yun Kweun, consultant Porter Wheeler, and Center Director Jonathan L. Gifford’s research paper, “Evaluating highway public-private partnerships: Evidence from U.S. value for money studies,” has been published in the journal Transport Policy. The paper examines value for money (VfM) analysis practices in the US highway sector, finding variation between public agencies’ model, risk transfer, and discount rate selections. More information can be found here.
A March 14 story on urban planning graduate programs with a focus on transportation featured Mason’s Transportation Policy Operations and Logistics (TPOL) master’s degree program among DC-area offerings for transportation professionals seeking a role in the arena’s dynamic future. Student Christopher Gomes’ experience was highlighted in a section showcasing how a TPOL “studio” class advised Fairfax County on pop-up development that helps anchor transportation infrastructure improvements like new Metrorail stations. The highly successful food truck picnic and entertainment space known as The Boro was a product of students’ work with the County and the Tysons Partnership. Read the full article.
The Washington Post quoted Center Director Jonathan Gifford in a March 12 article on the $5.6 billion 36-year contract that would create the Purple Line light rail system in Maryland. Aptly titled “Determining if the Purple Line contract is a good deal isn’t easy,” the article focuses on the proposal as the Maryland Board of Public Works prepares for a vote on April 6.
The Purple Line is designed to run two-car trains along primarily local streets between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George’s County, inside the Capital Beltway. Twenty-one station stops are planned. If approved, the public-private partnership would be one of the most expensive and longest-term contracts awarded in Maryland. The Purple Line would also be only the second U.S. transit project to rely on private financing.
Gifford’s comments included how hard it is to determine how well public-private partnerships work on U.S. transit projects because “we have a pretty short track record” with them. He says that the best ones allow the government to assume only the financial risks it can best handle.
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