Nicole Gelinas has a must-read op-ed in the New York Post raising questions about Governor Cuomo’s plan to rely on public-private partnerships (PPPs) to finance infrastructure and economic development projects in New York.
Her lead is an apt summary of a development policy the governor began to lay out last fall:
Gov. Cuomo wants to “build a new New York” — but he doesn’t want to pay for it. To get billions for construction, he’s turning to “public-private partnerships.” Sorry. Just as there’s no free lunch, there’s no free bridge.
Nicole points out that state’s financial advisors have warned in the past that bridge tolls can’t be raised high enough to generate the profit that private investors will want to earn from a rebuilt Tappan Zee Bridge. And she critiques the governor’s vision of an “entreprenurial government” relying heavily on private-sector partners to finance infrastructure and other economic development projects:
Wouldn’t the private sector be so efficient that it would save money building and running the (Tappan Zee) bridge? Maybe not. Private companies are efficient because they have to compete; this private company wouldn’t compete with anyone. It would be a monopoly, like Con Ed. Its captive “customer” would be the state.
The same is true of Cuomo’s proposal to build a convention center and casino in Queens. Genting, Cuomo’s preferred company, would pay the $4 billion, but only if New York gives it a regional monopoly on gambling, plus tax breaks. This isn’t healthy competition, but a protection racket.
By all means, read the whole thing.