Highways and Transit: Private Sector Sponsorship of and Investment in Major Projects Has Been Limited
Many in Congress, as well as many transportation experts, believe more money needs to be spent to keep up with the country's surface transportation needs. As Congress considers reauthorization of the nation's surface transportation laws, many observers believe increased private participation and investment in transportation can help meet these needs. GAO was asked to examine cases where state and local governments have used active private sector sponsorship and investment on major highway and transit projects where the private sector was the primary stakeholder in designing, financing, constructing, operating, and maintaining such projects. Among its objectives, GAO (1) identified the extent to which states have used active private sponsorship and investment to finance and build highway and transit projects; (2) identified some advantages, from the perspective of state and local governments, resulting from private sponsorship and investment and some tradeoffs;(3) determined challenges that the private sector faced in these projects; and (4) presented legislative proposals that could help increase private sponsorship and investment in highway and transit projects. We provided a draft of this report to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for its review and comment. DOT generally agreed with the information in the report.