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Policy Study

No.

272

Infrastructure Outsourcing: Leveraging Concrete, Steel, and Asphalt with Public-Private Partnerships

BY ADRIAN T. MOORE, GEOFFREY F. SEGAL, AND JOHN MCCORMALLY

Executive Summary

R ecord economic growth has fueled a growing desire to rebuild and improve the nation’s infrastructure. State and local governments traditionally have relied on public-works agencies or departments for project delivery, but the growing number of vital infrastructure projects has led these agencies to seek outside help. With increased participation by the private sector, innovative outsourcing has changed the face of infrastructure delivery.

The outsourcing wave continues to swell, affecting many different types of public-works agencies across the nation. Surveys show that at a minimum (not all agencies responded to the surveys):

  • Natural-resource and environmental-protection agencies in 18 states outsource engineering services;

  • General-services agencies in 22 states outsource architectural, building-construction, or facility- maintenance functions;

  • Transportation agencies in 34 states outsource highway design, road and bridge construction, road maintenance, architectural services, or airport projects;

  • Correctional agencies in 26 states and dozens of counties and cities have outsourced designing, building, and/or operating correctional facilities; and

  • Virtually all local governments outsource the design and construction of roads, bridges, solid-waste facilities, schools, and water and wastewater facilities.

Public agencies have entered into these partnerships because strain on their budgets, need for additional personnel for a limited duration, project delivery demands, and lack of personnel or expertise have left them

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