The Georgia Department of Transportation this week rolled out a list of potential projects to be funded by the recently adopted Public Private Partnership program, or P3, in hopes of attracting private investors.
The P3 program is designed to supplement public projects with funding from private entities in an effort to deflect financial burden from taxpayers. Supporters of P3 also point out that the system allows for a more rapid implementation of funding than traditional, publicly-funded undertakings.
Plans to install toll lanes around metro-Atlanta topped the list of proposed DOT projects, comprising all of those deemed “priority,” while plans for rail systems and other projects were downplayed in the list.
DOT spokesperson David Spear told reporters that the decision to prioritize toll roads rather than other, bolder initiatives was based on the shovel-ready nature of the projects, which have already passed financial feasibility studies.
Critics, though, are quick to point out that toll lanes are often more attractive to private investors as they provide the greatest opportunity for rendering a profit.
While Spear did not comment on the profitability of toll roads, he did assert that rail systems and similar projects would likely take years to implement under the P3 program without the aid of federal funding.
The DOT hopes to begin soliciting bids for the toll roads as early as next summer.