Despite perceived uncertainty as to the future of two, prominent transportation P3 projects, it appears that jurisdictions within Maryland are looking to P3 structures to solve a wider array of infrastructure issues in the state.
Prince George’s County, one of Washington, D.C.’s Maryland suburbs, recently entered into a first-of-its-kind stormwater P3 with a subsidiary to Corvias, a private company with experience in housing “social” infrastructure P3 experience. The partnership entity, called “the Clean Water Partnership” will tackle regulatory requirements for stormwater management, arising out of the controversial “Stormwater Management – Watershed Protection and Restoration Program (HB 987)” passed during the Maryland General Assembly’s 2012 session. In short, Maryland law directs state jurisdictions to assess fees to discourage construction of hard surfaces that don’t absorb groundwater, and would then instead runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. Following the mid-term elections, several Maryland jurisdictions regard Governor-elect Hogan’s ascendance as a mandate to repeal what detractors call the “Rain Tax,” but Prince George’s County appears to look to the private sector as an alternative path to managing the problem.
Under the “Clean Water Partnership,” Corvias Solutions, with its partner AbTech, will employ a “specialized” stormwater absorption technology, under a $100 million 30-year contract. The net result sought is reduced runoff, which could justify lower fees. In other words, high hopes reign that a repeal or restriction of the Rain Tax would not adversely affect the policy goal of reduced runoff into the Chesapeake. Corvias has indicated an intention to expand this model throughout the Northeast.