Public-private partnerships can be understood to be instruments for meeting the obligations of the state (things that there has been a strong social consensus that the state ought to do) that are transformed so as to involve private property ownership as a key element in the operation of the instrument. The word partnership is important and not just a euphemism for hiding a privatization (at least it ought not to be). Partnership means a relationship based on common goals where both entities share benefits and contribute resources over the long-term for mutual advantage and out of a sense of commitment. In a design-build-finance-operate (DBFO) public-private partnership, the state agency sponsoring the development hires either a single company (or consortium of companies) to, as the term suggests, meet the full extent of its public obligation by determining how best to meet the obligation, designing and building the necessary infrastructure and then operating it. This paper looks at the development of three DBFO public-private partnerships in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, asking what the likelihood is that the public will benefit from decisions to employ this procurement model. When using a definition of benefit that is broader than simply saving money, it is possible that these projects can provide greater benefits than a traditional public procurement, although the managers of two of the projects will likely face greater difficulties in doing so than the managers of the third one.
Les partenariats public-privé (PPP) peuvent être définis comme des instruments permettant à l’État de remplir ses obligations par le biais d’un rôle accru pour le secteur privé, incluant la propriété privée. L’élément partenarial n’est pas (du moins doit pas être) qu’un euphémisme visant à masquer une dynamique de privatisation. Un véritable partenariat se traduit par une relation mutuellement avantageuse caractérisée par le partage des buts, des objectifs, des ressources, de l’expertise et, bien entendu, des bénéfices à long terme. Dans le cadre d’un projet PPP qui inclue les phases Conception-Construction-Financement-Gestion (CCFG), l’agence de l’État sélectionne la firme privée (ou le consortium de firmes privées) qui sera responsable des obligations découlant de chacune de ces phases. Ce texte se penche sur le développement de trois projets PPP qui incluent les phases CCFG dans la région de Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique), afin d’identifier les bénéfices qui en résulteront pour les citoyens. Dès lors que la notion de bénéfices n’est pas restreinte à sa seule dimension financière, il devient possible que ces projets entraînent des bénéfices plus nombreux et/ou plus substantiels que sous un mode de prestation traditionnel, bien que cette possibilité représente un défi plus grand pour les deux premiers projets que pour le troisième.
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