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P3 Hub South Live Blogging – Join the Conversation

Albert E. Dotson, Jr.

Bilzin Sumberg, in partnership with P3 Bulletin, is proud to host P3 Hub South, a two-day conference bringing together top national and international players in the public sector, including U.S. government agency officials, mayors and local government staff, and leading global public-private partnership (“P3″) innovators in the private sector, including investors, developers, construction firms and advisors, to explore the future of the region’s P3 industry.  Following an evening of roundtable discussions and networking opportunities, the event kicked off this morning at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami with a panel discussion on the South’s evolving P3 marketplace, major upcoming infrastructure projects and lessons learned throughout the P3 process.

This morning’s panel, “The Public Procurers,” included Leon Corbett, Project Finance Manager with the Florida Department of Transportation; Russell Zapalac, Chief Planning & Project Officer with the Texas Department of Transportation; the Honorable John P. “Jack” Seiler, Mayor of the City of Fort Lauderdale; Bill Dowd, Project Executive of the Public Building Service within the General Services Administration; and Deliris Ortiz Torres, General Counsel for the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority. The speakers examined ongoing and upcoming projects within their jurisdictions for which the P3 model is essential, various P3 financing structures, and how traditional public funding methods measure up to the P3 approach.

While the panel covered a lot of ground within the P3 arena, one common theme emerged throughout the lively conversation: flexible financing options are vital to enabling governments at all levels to effectively deliver services to the public. Panelists stressed the importance of state and federal legislation allowing for creative partnerships between the public and private sectors, rather than handcuffing government actors to traditional procurement timelines and dependency on limited budget allocations.

The dialogue sparked by the P3 Hub South event comes at a particularly relevant time for South Florida. Public-private partnership discussion items crowded yesterday’s Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners meeting agenda.  The commissioners considered on first reading a resolution directing the Mayor to solicit proposals for a P3 to design, build, operate and maintain (or “DBOM” to use the P3 lingo) County court and jail facilities and a resolution to create a P3 Task Force to advise the Board on the County’s use of the P3 model, among other P3-focused items. In his address to P3 Hub South attendees today, guest speaker County Mayor Carlos Gimenez emphasized the County’s growing infrastructure needs encompassing public transit, convention centers, the Miami International Airport and the PortMiami. The Mayor also highlighted the $200 million P3 redevelopment of Miami’s oldest public housing complex, Liberty Square, which was announced earlier this week.

Following its two-day role as host to the P3 Hub South Conference, South Florida is ready to welcome a surge of P3 activity in the months and years ahead.

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