Following the passage of H.B. 114, which allows the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to enter into public-private partnerships (known as P3s), the department recently announced that it will seek to complete downtown Cleveland’s second innerbelt bridge project by initiating such an arrangement, Gongwer reports. Due to a “$1.6 billion committed backlog of transportation projects,” ODOT and the Transportation Review Advisory Council had moved the start of this project back to 2023; however, they now plan to reinstate the original start date of 2014 once a P3 is established for the project.

P3s typically involve a contract between a public sector authority and a private party (contractor). The contractor provides a public service or project and assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk in the project — up front — on the strength of a governmental contract. The cost of providing the service is borne wholly or in part by the government to the contractors.

As the first P3 project in Ohio, the state will identify contractors to fund the estimated “$317 million second phase of the work and the state would pay them back over time with money” received from the gas tax, the article said. Although the state will have to pay interest as it pays back the contractors, an ODOT spokesman said that “the state will save money by expediting the projects by reducing maintenance costs and other expenses,” the article said.