Javier was joined by Andrej Micovic, P3 finance attorney at Bilzin Sumberg; Corey Clive, Founder and CEO of Venergy Group; Francisco Garcia, Director, Planning & Zoning for the City of Miami; David Martin, President of Terra; Avinash S. Patwardhan, PhD, BCEEM, Managing Director - Smart Cities at Jacobs; and Philip Stoddard, Mayor of South Miami.
The panel agreed that as governments strive to build smart cities, public-private partnerships (P3s) provide opportunities for collaboration between public and private entities to help overcome budgetary constraints and bring forward innovation and lifecycle efficiencies that are difficult to obtain in purely public projects. As applied to smart city initiatives, the traditional P3 procurement model requires some modification, and there has been a growing trend of launching transactions as pilot programs in order to test new technologies, with long-term contracts being developed and entered into on the basis of the pilots.
Still, as the panelists discussed, opportunities exist to improve how P3s are managed by the public sector. For example, in Florida, P3 statutes and ordinances need to be adapted to allow for more buy-in from the stakeholder early in the process, requiring a departure from existing government procurement standards.
"P3s are long-term relationships," said Andrej, "When done correctly, they should have enough flexibility and adaptability to overcome structural barriers and provide enhanced benefits for the public sector while providing contractual certainty for the private sector." As the panelists noted, it is difficult to balance long-term contractual requirements with the need to keep up with the latest technologies. At the end of the day, P3s are about partnerships, and innovative change regimes in P3 contracts may provide a path forward.
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