Private cash courted for public projects

The construction of infrastructure projects is likely to get a boost in the future thanks to a draft bill the Finance Ministry submitted to Parliament yesterday on public-private partnerships (PPP). The PPP bill is an initiative aimed at enticing the private sector into the construction of public works by allowing them to finance and then manage the project. Firms will be able to receive compensation for their funding role by either charging fees to the government or the end user, i.e. highway tolls. The PPP model is expected to help spur growth without weighing on the budget at a time when public spending is being trimmed as the goverment tries to lower the budget deficit. The bill concerns projects costing up to 200 million euros. Initially, larger projects were expected to require separate legislative acts but that has since changed. Under the proposals, a joint ministry committee may be able to approve higher valued projects.

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