The Global Infrastructure Public-private Partnership and the Extra-territorial Politics of Collective Provision: The Case of Regional Rail Transit in Denver, USA

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Collective provision, Denver, Infrastructure finance, Public-private partnerships, Regional transit

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College of Natual Science and Mathematics, Geography and the Environment


Drawing upon a case study of regional transit in Denver, Colorado, this article describes and accounts for the emergence of the global infrastructure public-private partnership (GIP3) as a novel extra-territorial mechanism for financing and delivering transportation infrastructure projects across large metropolitan regions in the United States (US). Unlike traditional locally-funded public-private partnerships, a GIP3 involves a global (i.e. extra-territorial) consortium of private sector construction firms and investors which enters into a long-term contract with a regional public agency to finance, operate, maintain and deliver strategic investments in transportation infrastructure. In 2004, Denver region voters approved a sales tax increase to fund the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD)’s US$4.7 billion FasTracks programme, a 122-mile extension of light and commuter rail along six corridors. Faced with a shortfall in regional funding, the Denver RTD subsequently entered into a contract with a GIP3 consortium to finance and deliver the Eagle P3 project, a major component of the FasTracks system to Denver International Airport. The article argues that future research on GIP3 contractual agreements needs to consider the local control of infrastructure assets and the integrity of supporting regional collaborative governance arrangements.

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