Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is a hero to advocates of public-private partnerships for successfully negotiating a $3.8 billion deal to lease the Indiana Toll Road.
The problem is, there may never be another deal to match it. “It’s hard to state how great that deal was; there will never be another one like it,” Daniels told reporters.
The public came off much better than the private side in the deal, he said, despite the 75-year length of the toll road concession lease. “The investors will take a haircut eventually; it’s pretty obvious,” Daniels said. “I’m sorry about that, but the winners are the state and citizens of Indiana. We’re in a building boom.”
That boom will fade over the next few years as Indiana finishes spending that $3.8 billion. While some opponents of such partnerships say that will leave the state scrambling to find new sources of funding, without access to the privatized toll revenue for two or three generations, advocates counter they’ll be scrambling over hundreds of miles of new or mended roads and bridges. “The success of that project will not be replicated, but others can still have very major successes,” Daniels said.