State Sen. Greg Ball called on the state legislature to approve a measure that would allow for the formation of public-private partnerships to fund the new Tappan Zee Bride’s mass transit component and other infrastructure projects.
In advocating for the bill, Ball said it would open up millions of dollars from pension funds and other revenue sources to pay for the work.
“This public-private partnership legislation is exactly the tool that this governor needs to make sure that we do the Tappan Zee project right,” Ball said at a Sept. 21 press conference at the Mount Kisco Public Library, which preceded the second in a series of roundtable discussions on the topic. “This is a jobs project number one, not only for the Hudson Valley, but for New York State.”
Without the partnership, the state would be billions short in funding the mass transit portion of the new bridge, he said. Under current law, pension systems and other revenue sources, such as college endowments, cannot be invested in infrastructure projects.
There are 35 states that have legislation in place allowing to create public-private partnerships, Ball said.
“I think this is a unique opportunity for New York to tap into a process that more and more states are using now,” said Richard Norment, executive director of the National Council for Public Private Partnerships and a participant in last Friday’s roundtable.
Norment said he was involved in helping the state to craft “the best possible legislation.”
Shirley Ybarra, a former secretary of transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia, said her state was one of the first to pass public-private partnership legislation in 1995. “We have a number of projects that we have completed and that are going on now” which received funding as a result of the partnership, she said.
Ball said if the state legislature holds a special session after the November elections, he wanted public-private partnership legislation approved. Also supporting the concept is Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he added.
“This is time sensitive,” Ball said.
The senator said a public-private partnership for the new bridge would only be for the mass transit component “because of where it is in the design/build phase” for other parts of the project.