As autonomous vehicles become more commonplace on American roads, public and private entities are looking for ways to meet the infrastructure demands that come with their large-scale deployment. One of the proposed solutions is public-private partnerships (P3s), which offer a number of potential advantages but also present their own implementation challenges and risks. Recently, the city of Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission announced a collaboration with a multinational telecommunications company to implement cellular V2X (C-V2X) technology on certain Las Vegas roadways. Public-private partnerships have the potential to solve infrastructure problems, but they also create complex relationships that require addressing issues such as data privacy, intellectual property rights, tort, and compliance with state and federal laws, in addition to analyzing any national security issues caused by foreign investment and cross-border projects. Governments use P3s to work with private sector companies to finance projects.
While P3s have been established in other countries, their use in the United States has been limited due to the traditional reliance on municipal bonds for infrastructure finance and conflicting political views on privatization. In Las Vegas, public-private partnerships have been used to fund projects such as the Mayor's Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, which opened last year on Las Vegas Boulevard and Foremaster Lane to provide a safe place for homeless people and connect them to services. The fund will also address providing Internet connectivity to Las Vegas families through the ConnectHome program, improving early childhood education through the city's Strong Start academies, and expanding summer learning academies. A city government may be heavily indebted and unable to undertake a capital-intensive construction project, but a private company might be interested in financing its construction in exchange for receiving operating benefits once the project is finished. Funding a project through a public-private partnership can allow a project to be completed sooner or even make it possible in the first place. For instance, the city of Los Angeles has entered into partnership talks with a telecommunications provider for the creation of a smart city. Public-private partnerships can be beneficial for both parties involved, but they also come with their own set of risks and challenges that must be taken into account before establishing them.
It is essential for governments and private companies alike to understand these risks before entering into any agreement.