Investing in Infrastructure and Creating Jobs through Public-Private Partnerships
By Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown
As we start the 430th legislative session today, Governor O’Malley and I remain focused on our number one priority of creating jobs and putting Marylanders back to work. Investing in infrastructure projects is one of the most effective ways to spur job creation and encourage economic growth. By building roads, transit, schools, ports, hospitals, courthouses, water and sewers, we will also strengthen our State’s economy, productivity, environment and quality of life. Through well structured public-private partnerships we can increase investment in our infrastructure, ensure accountability, and create more jobs.
The Seagirt Marine Terminal in the Baltimore Harbor is a good example of a public-private infrastructure project at work in Maryland. The agreement is creating 5,700 jobs over its lifetime and bringing increased business opportunities and over a billion dollars to the State. By 2014, larger vessels from the newly widened Panama Canal will be able to dock in Baltimore. This will bring a significant boost to commerce, tourism and transportation.
Investments like Seagirt not only strengthen Maryland locally and nationally, but they have a powerful job-creation impact. Initial estimates by Maryland departments overseeing capital projects have found that additional utilization of public-private partnerships could contribute between six percent and ten percent, or $205 million and $315 million respectively, of Maryland’s $3.1 billion annual capital budget while creating as many as 4,000 jobs. This includes an estimated $160 million to $240 million annually that could be invested in Maryland transportation projects through public-private partnerships.
Maximizing public-private partnerships is vital to our state’s success, which is why we are working to improve the process for these partnerships, creating a framework that is fair, balanced, and transparent. Maryland’s P3 Commission, the Joint Legislative and Executive Commission on Oversight of Public-Private Partnerships, which I chair, has been collaborating with numerous stakeholders, including representatives from labor, the business community and the State Legislature, to iron out the parameters for such partnerships. This week, the Commission submitted a report to the Governor and General Assembly with recommendations for streamlining and enhancing the framework for establishing public-private infrastructure projects in Maryland.
Marylanders need us to act now. Modernizing our state’s infrastructure is critical and encouraging public-private partnerships can be an effective way to move projects forward and put more Marylanders back to work.