Design-build procurement, lack of public oversight
and unfavorable lease agreements have typified
California's public-private partnership
(P3) projects. State Route 91 in Orange
County required a $207 million taxpayer bailout and
is now a public toll road. San Diego County’s
State Route 125 was in bankruptcy, defaulted on
hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer loans,
and was ultimately purchased by SANDAG.
The 2009 budget package
included expanded P3 authority for state highways.
The legislation required safeguards to ensure
public agency involvement and inspection to prevent
future P3 taxpayer rip-offs. The Presidio Parkway replacement
project violated those basic public safeguards.
A no-bid contract was awarded that will waste one
billion taxpayer dollars.
Public-Private Partnerships in California
(Doyle Drive). The cost of San
Francisco’s Doyle Drive replacement more than
doubled when it was converted to a P3. Fully funded
and scheduled to be delivered using the traditional
design-bid-build method, the project was to cost
$473 million and likely would have been delivered
for far less thanks to a favorable bid environment.
As a P3, the project will now cost $1.1 to 1.4 billion and
will be funded not with “new money” but with
availability payments of $28 million to $43 million
a year for 30 years out of the State Highway
Account. Learn more about the Presidio Parkway
Taxpayer rip-off here.
SR 125 (San Diego Toll Road). The
private owners of San Diego’s P3 toll road filed for
bankruptcy protection in 2010. Among those who lost
hundreds of millions of dollars – the Federal
Governments’ TIFIA loan program. This P3 toll road
was supposed to cost $360 million and be complete in
2006. Instead, costs ballooned to $843 million and
the toll road did not open until November 2007.
Legislation in 2006 extended the tolls for an
additional ten years to pay for cost overruns,
requiring the public to pay the private owners
“hundreds of millions of dollars in additional
tolls,” according to the Department of Finance.
SR 91 (Express Lanes – Riverside Freeway).
In 2002, the Orange County Transportation Authority had
to buy this public-private partnership tollway
because of a non-compete clause that prohibited
congestion-relieving improvements in the traffic
corridors. Taxpayers were forced to “assume
the turnpike’s debt of $135 million and pay the
company $72.5 million in cash,” in large part
because design-build increased the cost from $57
million to $130 million.
Partnerships: Failures Around the World
To learn more about other P3 disasters from around
the world, please visit
PECG Press Releases
PECG Supports LAO
Recommendations for Public-Private Partnership Projects - 11/8/12
Budget Deficit Requires End to Wasteful No-Bid Contracts -
05/14/12 Press Release
For more of the very latest news articles about public-private
partnerships, please go to
Reports & Documents
Public Private Partnerships - Findings & Recommendations of the
Special Panel on Public-Private Partnerships, House Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure, September 2014
Study: Economic Analyses Should Drive Transportation Infrastructure
The Container, December 9, 2014
Report: The High Cost of Poor Roads
New Studies Highlight Importance of Investing in State
Coos Bay World News, November 29, 2014
Maximizing State Benefits from Public-Private Partnerships,
Legislative Analyst's Office Report, November 8, 2012
PECG's 10/9/12 Letter to the Little
RE September 25 Hearing