Combs taking part in panel discussing benefit of public-private partnerships


State Rep. Leslie Combs, the General Assembly’s leading advocate for expanding use of public-private partnerships (P3) in Kentucky, will be one of four state legislators from across the country discussing the policy issue next month during a national meeting of road builders. It’s her second year in a row as a panelist.

The National Conference of State Legislatures is convening the panel as part of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s annual P3 meeting, which will be held in Washington, D.C. Combs, D-Pikeville, will share the stage with legislators from Virginia, Indiana and Colorado.

“I’m proud to serve on this panel because the P3 concept is what many states are using now to build and operate the major projects and services the public requires,” Combs said. “As the chair of the House committee overseeing Kentucky’s highway plan, I know first-hand just how much we need this tool here, and my hope is that we will have it in 2016. We cannot afford to fall further behind in this area.”

Combs noted that some states, such as Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania, are using P3 to take on projects that would be impossible through traditional highway spending or require an impractically long financial commitment.

“The days of the federal government building multi-billion dollar bridges and roads for us are over,” she said. “P3 provides the only viable path forward for projects like these, but it can also be used in smaller ways as well. If a private company can carry out a task more affordably than the government, and with more expertise, we need to take that step. My legislation, which has the backing of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Transportation Cabinet, would streamline this process and make sure it is done with a high level of transparency and accountability.”

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