Massive Denver public projects involving private sector would be streamlined under Mayor Hancock proposal to City … – The Denver Post
Denver city leaders Thursday rolled out their vision of how best to streamline the construction and management of massive public projects through partnerships with the private sector, a strategy increasingly being adopted by cities nationwide.
Their blueprint entails launching a new city office dedicated to vetting and shepherding such projects — which can cost hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars — through construction and management agreements that can span decades. Details of the plan were revealed after the city spent $1 million on an outside consultant and wrangled for months with the City Council last year about oversight.
Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration is proposing a “performance-based infrastructure” program, which would draw on effective practices from around the world for how best to design partnerships to get major infrastructure projects built and tend to their long-term upkeep, while the private-sector partners share in project benefits and risks.
“The City and County of Denver is committed to making life better for Denver residents by leveraging all of the tools in the toolbox to build, operate and maintain public infrastructure projects,” Emily Hauber, Hancock’s senior adviser for federal affairs and government relations, said in an email.
The practice has gained traction with cities and government agencies across the U.S., including the Colorado Department of Transportation. In Hancock’s office, it’s viewed as especially important at a time when Denver is growing and federal investment in infrastructure is waning.
But it will be up to council members, in coming weeks, to decide whether to fund the effort.
City government’s first foray into partnership deals was a big one: Denver International Airport’s 34-year, $1.8 billion contract with Great Hall Partners, led by Madrid-based Ferrovial Airports. Approved by the council last year, the deal mixes public and private money to fund a $650 million renovation of the terminal