Mayors P3 council holds first meeting

A year after it was launched, the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s public-private partnership task force held its inaugural roundtable conference this week in Atlanta.

“Our first public-private partnerships council meeting laid the groundwork for our objectives in the years to come,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who was tapped last year to head up the council.

“These mayors and industry leaders are bringing their expertise to give ideas and gain ideas,” Dickens said at a press conference announcing the meeting. “The importance of this bipartisan group of mayors is sharing best practices and learning from each other on how to reduce risk and deliver projects that are faster and cheaper for their constituents.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens heads up the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ new public-private partnership task force.

Atlanta Mayor’s Office

Dickens said part of the attraction of P3s is the ability to shift risk to a private entity.

The task force, which comprises 18 mayors from across the country, aims to become a hub for public officials and private companies to discuss opportunities, challenges and best practices for P3s.

Subsequent meetings will be held in other cities, Dickens said.

The USCM formed the group in part to leverage federal money in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The IIJA also enacted several provisions aimed at boosting the U.S. P3 market, including grant money to local governments considering the option. The Build America Bureau, the Transportation Department’s P3-focused office, is set to release detailed guidance on how entities should craft the value-for-money analysis as part of determining whether a P3 is the best route.

The task force includes private entities as well, including Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, which focuses on building resilient and “future-proofed” infrastructure.

“The types of partnerships we will be discussing will be central to improving our infrastructure, and partnerships that bring not just capital but new technologies and new ways of working,” said David Gilford, the firm’s head of policy and strategic partnerships and a founding member of USCM’s P3 Council advisory board, at the press conference.

The USCM launched the P3 task force in June 2022 at its 90th annual meeting. The task force has no formal membership and can be attended by any mayor.