Given the dire situation of many government budgets, governments at all levels are looking for innovative alternatives to provide services, maintain existing infrastructure, and finance new public works. Puerto Rico’s Public-Partnerships Act of 2009 offers a recent framework to do that. This Act authorizes all departments, agencies, public corporations, and instrumentalities, and the legislative and judicial branches of the Government of Puerto Rico to establish Public-Private Partnerships. Such partnerships couple the resources and efforts of the public sector with resources of the private sector by means of a joint investment that results in the benefit of both parties.
This Act generally defines Public-Private Partnerships as contracts between a government entity and one or more people to delegate operations, functions, services, or responsibilities of any government entity, or to design, develop, finance, maintain or operate one or more facilities, or any combination thereof. It spells out the criteria to set up Public-Private Partnerships and defines the terms of Public-Private Partnership contracts. For example, the Act sanctions the following contract arrangements: design / build, design / build / operate, design / build / finance / operate, design / build / transfer / operate, design / build / operate / transfer, turnkey contract, long-term lease contract, surface right contract, administrative grant contract, joint venture contract, long-term administration and operation contract, and any other kind of contract that separates or combines the design, building, financing, operation or maintenance phases of a project.