Preserving the Public Interest in Highway Public–Private Partnerships: A Case Study of the State of Texas




Faced with existing revenues sources that are insufficient to finance highway maintenance and construction needs, some state and local governments are using or considering highway public–private partnerships. These partnerships may be attractive as a way for a government to obtain upfront revenues from the long-term lease of a road and to shift some of the construction and operations risks to a private firm. However, with these benefits, comes the need to preserve the public interest. This paper discusses issues related to preserving the public interest in highway public–private partnerships and presents a case study of the State of Texas. The case study focuses on an analysis of the strengths and limitations of Texas’ policies and procedures to protect the public interest in the use of long-term leases for the financing, construction, and operation of new toll roads. The case study also discusses what other governments may be able to learn from Texas’ experiences.