The State of Colorado continues to forge successful public-private partnerships, especially in the transportation arena. The new FastTracks west rail line, the recently announced Highway 36 privately managed lane corridor project and Union Station are just a few examples of public works projects either funded, managed, or both, through the private sector.

As the discussion continues about innovative financing possibilities, and new ways to use public-private partnerships, the University of Colorado Denver’s Buechner Institute for Governance is partnering with the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships to stage the “Implementing PPPs for Colorado” workshop in Denver on May 22.

NCPPP is a non-profit which offers education and guidance about best practices in implementing public-private partnerships, including a series of national workshops like this one.

Based on the success of Colorado’s previous public-private partnerships, Richard Norment, NCPPP’s executive director, feels the state is poised for a broader use of this innovative tool. Norment is particularly impressed with the many communities that the Regional Transportation District brings together, describing the way the various jurisdictions work together as clever.

“RTD is quite admirable”, he continues. “The partnership provides for better, cost-effective, delivery of services.”

But, as forward-thinking as Colorado has been bringing private dollars and management into public transportation projects, Norment says it’s time for the state to consider the same kinds of partnerships for social infrastructure projects.

“There are options for cities and states to consider how to meet infrastructure needs”, he says. “Water systems, waste water, health, and schools are just some of the partnerships that have been successfully implemented. In Virginia, nearly 500 schools have been built, some at no cost to the taxpayer.”

Speakers and presenters on May 22 will include Phil Washington, executive director of RTD, Steve Hogan, the mayor of Aurora, Susan Mays from CH2MHill, CDOT’s Don Hunt and Gary Drews with the Colorado Health Foundation in addition to Norment.

“We only provide these workshops to areas with a need and desire to learn more about public-private partnerships,” says Norment. “It was quickly apparent that Colorado was in a unique situation to take what it’s already learned and apply that knowledge to building social projects through partnerships.”

Brian Gerber, executive director of the CU Denver Buechner Insititute for Governance envisions the day-long event as the first step toward a regional workshop with an even greater scope and exchange of ideas.

“Using successful public-private partnerships in transportation as our starting point,” Gerber says, “we are striving to make future discussions and projects more diverse. Adding the non-profit Colorado Health Foundation helps illustrate the face of the newly evolving public-private partnership.”

The day-long workshop will take place at the Embassy Suites Denver-Downtown Convention Center. By early May, over a hundred government and private sector attendees had already registered. Any audience of a hundred or more is considered a success by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships. The pre-registration deadline is May 15. Walk-up registrations will be available onsite the day of the workshop.

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