Companies Steer, Taxpayers Pay

In Economy On

Faster, better, cheaper.

As President Trump prepares to deliver a speech on Wednesday about infrastructure, his administration is promoting the benefits of having local governments work with private corporations to build, repair and manage the nation’s ailing roads, bridges and airports.

Public-private partnerships, as they are known, have many potential benefits. Companies can complete projects quicker and more cheaply than governments can, proponents say. Letting private industry take the lead can also limit the amount of debt that cities and states need to take on.

Yet in the United States, public-private partnerships represent a tiny fraction of infrastructure spending. On toll roads, for instance, where they have been used the most, they accounted for just 1 percent of all spending between 1989 and 2011, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.

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