Tue., October 20, 2009 1:23pm (EDT)

Transportation Head Pushes Private Funding Option
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
DOT Commissioner Vance Smith pushes private funding program for transportation projects. (photo by Carl Zornes)
DOT Commissioner Vance Smith pushes private funding program for transportation projects. (photo by Carl Zornes)
The head of the state’s transportation department is pushing an option to fund transportation projects without using tax-payers' dollars.

DOT Commissioner Vance Smith spoke to lawmakers at the state capital today about the public-private partnerships program or P3.

"With funding and the economy the way it is today this is another avenue we can look at to provide those modes of transportation," Vance says.

P3, officials say, is one way to build roads, rails, or runways with capital coming from private investment, rather than public funds.

Right now, the DOT is streamlining the process by creating its rules, and it's soliciting lawmakers feedback.

Lawmakers' concerns ranged from making sure the program employed Georgians and that the public had adequate comment, to requests like making rail projects a priority.

P3 has been around since 2003 when it was put into law, but it has never been used. The projects introduced over the years were toll roads around Atlanta that didn’t get enough traction.

The DOT wants to finalize the rules and put them into law next legislative session, so it can solicit projects from the private sector next summer.