Florida is paving the way towards economic development with its public-private partnerships (P3) and examples of how the government can fund infrastructure projects more efficiently to benefit the public.
What is Florida Statute 255.065?
Funding new infrastructure is costly. However, Florida has devised a way to fund these projects equitably through the state's 255.065 statutes.
Under 255.065, the state or local government hands over partial control and ownership of the project to private companies in exchange for funding from the private sector to complete public initiatives.
Under this law, a private company provides financing or capital investments for projects that serve the greater public. These companies may also be an integral part of the project's design, development, operation, and ownership. In some cases, ownership may be temporary and, at some point, revert to a government-owned property. In other cases, the privately-owned company may lease the property for several years. Each P3 agreement is unique based on the needs of all involved parties.
Revenue generated from the completed project is often split between the government agency and the private partner.
The law provides guidelines and minimum requirements, but there is a lot of leeway in how the agreement is structured. The bottom line is that the result must benefit the public.
P3 Project Examples
Some examples of successful P3 projects in Florida are as follows:
I-595 - The project improved sections of the I-595 highway and reversible tolled express lanes. The project was billed at $1.2 billion and included a 35-year agreement.
I4 - Orange and Seminole counties benefit from a P3 agreement that is funding improvements to the I4, "21 miles from Kirkman Road in Orange County to SR 434 in Seminole County." Added express lanes will reduce congestion, and fixes to bridges and tunnels will increase safety. The project is a 40-year agreement costing $2.3 billion.
Ultimate PortMiami Tunnel - The project added a much-needed tunnel for a direct connection to Port of Miami on Dodge Island from Watson Island. This 35-year agreement also widened the MacArthur Causeway Bridge at the cost of $667 million.
ISHOF Museum - The Fort Lauderdale City Commission recently formed a partnership with the Hall of Fame Partners, LLC., to replace the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) museum buildings. The original building was erected in 1960 and is showing serious signs of wear and tear. The replacement of the ISHOF museum buildings is in tandem with a $45 million renovation of the aquatic center.
Southwest Florida Collaboratory - Another public-private partnership resulted in the Southwest Florida Collaboratory, which bridged the gap between downtown and the Dunbar area, adding value to the community and a place to collaborate. The space provides high-tech, low-cost meeting spaces and as a bonus tax incentive for the region.
Caloosa Sound Convention Center - In 2020, Florida used a public-private partnership to construct the Luminary Hotel Caloosa Sound Convention Center, offering local residents a parking garage and an events center to bring new revenue and opportunities to the surrounding area. The city also plans to add an amphitheater to enhance entertainment options for the local community.