A $1.4 billion environmental bond bill introduced in Massachusetts late last week includes language designed to unlock water infrastructure P3s in the state.
Lodged among the funding allocations in H.4318 – which includes $60 million specifically earmarked for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust – is a regulatory framework that outlines a process for procuring and structuring drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure projects under lease, O&M or DBFO-type structures. The initial proposed term of such contracts is up to 20 years.
As part of Governor Baker’s efforts to tackle climate adaptation and environmental infrastructure needs in Massachusetts, the water P3 framework is modelled on state legislation for transportation P3s passed in 2009, and follows a previous legislative effort which stalled in 2016. If the bill is passed, Massachusetts would join a growing number of states with legislation authorising water P3s, including Oklahoma, which passed a bill in August last year.