Chief Executive Officer
Charlotte Area Transit System
Public-private partnerships (P3s) are necessary today to navigate through the challenging effects of the economy and maintain momentum in the industry that is moving transit forward. CATS views public-private partnerships as a means to leverage and maximize our assets and resources so we can continue to provide high-quality transit in the Charlotte region now and into the future.
Each public-private partnership is unique and requires a clear vision, stakeholder support and frequent coordination between the public entity and the industry partner. Potential partners need to see how a joint venture not only will benefit the community, but also how joining forces on a project with the transit agency will enhance their organization. A transit agency must be transparent and clearly show they are maximizing resources to gain the trust and buy-in from potential partners and community stakeholders.
CATS has been successful in collaborating on several projects in Charlotte. In 1995 transit formed a partnership with Bank of America to build the Charlotte Transportation Center, CATS main transfer terminal. Bank of America constructed the building on city-owned property and the facility is jointly managed. Most recently CATS received land donations from two educational institutions for our LYNX Blue Line light rail projects. During the design of the LYNX Blue Line, CATS, Mecklenburg County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools agreed on a land swap deal. CATS transformed an unusable ravine by an elementary school at the end of the line into a three-level parking deck topped by a two-acre playing field for the children at the school and in the adjacent neighborhood. Local merchants provided financial support for the Blue Line's signature station in Center City Charlotte and we worked closely with private developers for mixed-use, transit-oriented development surrounding several light rail stations. The proposed Blue Line Extension will end on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s campus on land donated by the University.
CATS strategy of developing defined projects with specific needs, goals and benefits, and addressing any potential challenge early in the planning process has proven successful on several occasions. We also realize effective public-private partnerships can deliver a better project than either entity could provide alone. Currently CATS is looking at a P3 design build for the proposed commuter rail line from Center City Charlotte to 25 miles north of the city. Innovative financing is the future of the transit industry and CATS will continue to purse P3s as we move to complete our entire rapid transit system plan.
San Diego, Calif.
Worldwide Vice President, Financial Operations
Cubic Transportation Systems Inc.
Budget shortfalls, shrinking traditional funding sources, aging and under-capacity infrastructure and other challenges are leading more transit operators to form public-private partnerships with the private sector to achieve sustainability and growth. Here is what you should expect in a P3 and some best practices, drawn from Cubic Transportation Systems’ more than 20 years of P3 experience working with leading financial advisors and banks to construct, deliver and service some of the largest projects in the automated fare collection (AFC) industry.
Two prime examples are the world’s largest transit AFC P3 deals, awarded in London (1998) and the Chicago Open Standards Fare System (2011). London’s Oyster Card system, serving more than 10 million transactions a day, is operated and maintained by Cubic. The Chicago Transit Authority’s P3 is a $454 million, 12-year contract to design, build, finance, market, operate and maintain an open payments fare system. The system will allow riders to pay transit fares using contactless bank cards, NFC-enabled mobile phones and other accepted payment media.