NY, NJ Officials Reject Chicago’s Model of Privatizing Public Assets, Agree Public-Private Partnerships Need Better Safeguards


New York and New Jersey public officials who are exploring new ways to involve the private sector in the delivery of public infrastructure soundly rejected Chicago s model of selling off public infrastructure at a New York University Institute for Public Knowledge forum on November 16.

New York and New Jersey public officials who are exploring new ways to involve the private sector in the delivery of public infrastructure soundly rejected Chicago’s model of selling off public infrastructure at a New York University Institute for Public Knowledge forum on November 16.

Samara Barend, executive director of the New York State Commission on State Asset Maximization, and New Jersey’s Kris Kolluri, former commissioner of the state’s Department of Transportation and current CEO of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, discussed recent efforts to develop public-private partnerships in both states. Barend’s Commission is setting the rules for future public-private partnerships in New York State for projects like the Tappan Zee Bridge and Robert Moses Causeway Bridge. Kolluri is exploring lease-back arrangements with private builders and operators of public school buildings with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act subsidized bonds.

Both officials were commenting on a report by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (Illinois PIRG) Education Fund that sharply criticized the City of Chicago’s recent string of closed-door deals to hand over toll roads, parking meters and garages to private companies with leases lasting 75 to 99 years.

“These things the report points to in Chicago are exactly the things that we were determined to avoid in our proposal,” said Kolluri, discussing the Corzine adminis 500

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