Photo courtesy of “The Elizabeth River Tunnels Project.”

Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation, a long-time member of ARTBA’s Public Private Partnerships (P3) Board of Directors, has written a detailed critique and response to an Oct. 17 Washington Post story that was critical of the new Midtown Tunnel project in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region.

The Post piece questioned the Commonwealth of Virginia’s contract terms with the private-sector Elizabeth River Crossings consortium, including the public funding involved, claiming that the original intent was to build the new tunnel with private equity exclusively.

In his “fact check,” which will run in the monthly P3 publication Public Works Financing (by permission), Poole offers context and background on the project the Post story omitted, noting that Virginia’s state government and taxpayers were not exposed to the risk of cost overruns, delays and similar possibilities.  In the bigger picture, Poole writes, the Post piece “reflects misconceptions about P3s that all too many people believe.  The P3 community needs [to] do a much better job of educating opinion leaders and policy-makers about this important new way of doing transportation mega-projects.”

ARTBA’s P3 Division continues to provide opportunities for leaders in this sector to share information about public and media perceptions of P3s, as well as ways to “correct the record,” as in Poole’s response.  Earlier this year, ARTBA addressed similar issues in the international publication Thinking Highways. ARTBA has also helped defend the Midtown Tunnel project in litigation, providing an amicus brief in Virginia’s victory against a nuisance lawsuit in 2013.

For more information on ARTBA’s P3 Division and activities, please contact Rich Juliano.