Monday, June 19, 2017


Whenever I see people (including Very Serious Liberals) advocating public-private partnerships I wait for the reasoning...and there's never a reason! At best it's something like "to pretend the state isn't borrowing the money that it is borrowing" but in practice it's like "hand over public assets for the privilege of borrowing at 6% when you could just borrow at 3%". Also, you could raise taxes.

At first, it sounded like a good idea: Indiana would use a public-private partnership to extend I-69 from Bloomington to Martinsville, relying on private sector ingenuity to bring it in on time and under budget.

But the project is two years behind schedule. The prolonged construction has increased traffic accidents and lengthened commute times. And, now, as the state is dissolving the partnership — which some argue could end up costing Hoosiers millions of dollars — a difficult question needs to be asked:

How did this once-touted project — pitched and promoted by then-Gov. Mike Pence as a model for smart infrastructure planning — become such an embarrassing mess?

PPP's aren't about contracting out construction work. Good or bad, that's pretty normal. It's about getting Big Finance involved and handing over some public assets.