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Public-private partnerships

President Barack Obama has launched an ambitious economic stimulus plan that makes public-private partnerships key to America’s economic rebound.
The president is proposing the greatest investment in infrastructure “since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s.” And a catchphrase of that plan is public-private partnerships, or P3s.
Arizona State University’s Bob Ramsey Executive Education Program is poised to help make Arizona a leader in forging such partnerships. Because of its deep community ties, experience in building relationships and professional “know how,” the Executive Education Program is a pioneer in bringing together state and local agencies, private business, nonprofits, and non-governmental organizations. Since its inception, the Ramsey Program has demonstrated a unique ability to pull together public- and private-sector executives to advance better cross-sector understanding.
Like many in the state of Arizona, Obama recognizes P3s as an innovative way of paying for infrastructure projects, building highways and erecting schools and public buildings. In recent years, federal, state and local governments have increasingly turned to P3s to reduce costs, accelerate delivery, create jobs and transfer risks to the private sector while maintaining public sector control.
Now the president wants governments to move even faster in creating these partnerships, saying officials will lose out if they do not move quickly to repair highways and bridges. “We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule — use it or lose it,” he said.
As governments across the country race to meet the call for infrastructure improvements, officials will be looking at P3s as a new approach to improve efficiency and quality. They also will be looking at P3s for innovative solutions to increasingly complex problems. Therefore, it is critical that senior public and private officials work together to create a seamless continuum of service to the public. These partnerships form a quilt, sewn together from many different sources. When a problem arises with one section of the quilt, the entire quilt is not discarded. Instead the part or sector that is not working is replaced. This is the essence of P3s.
ASU’s Bob Ramsey Executive Education Program is ready to coach senior decision-makers in Arizona on how to build public-private partnerships. We are ready to help Arizona leaders meet the challenge to retool our infrastructure and economy.
— Bob Ramsey is president and CEO of Star West Associates and PMT Ambulance, Inc.

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