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On Thursday, the Colorado State Senate's Transportation and Energy Committee voted 5-0 to approve a CoPIRG-backed bill to bring more transparency to state transportation public-private partnerships. CoPIRG applauds the sponsor of SB20-017, Senator Faith Winter, and the rest of the committee, Senators Foote, Scott, Donovan, and Hisey, for voting in favor of the bill.
SB20-017 will require the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) to include additional information in its annual report to the Legislature and the public including information around how it will solicit, receive, and respond to the public when it's considering a public-private partnership (PPP), the processes it will use for selecting a PPP, and information on the financial, length-of-term, and performance provisions in a PPP.
Statement from CoPIRG Director Danny Katz:
"This bill is an important step to increasing transparency around PPPs and helping to articulate and ensure opportunities for public engagement, which is important to give legislators and the public the confidence that any PPP is bringing the proper value to the state.
Transportation funding is a growing issue in Colorado as elected officials and transportation leaders grapple with funding challenges. Increasingly, the state is pursuing PPPs. To ensure that the public gets the value, efficiency and safety it deserves from potential new PPPs, the information and details about those projects must be available. Key pieces of information include performance and financial provisions.
Transparency during this process is especially critical. The public must be able to weigh in. That happens best when entities like the HPTE have a clear process and plan for soliciting public feedback and responding to questions and concerns. Finally, the process for selecting a PPP must be clearly articulated. This transparency is important to avoid both corruption and the appearance of corruption, thereby helping to assure public legitimacy for any decisions."
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