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A road to the future

December 02, 2007

Re "Gov. pushes private works," Nov. 28

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should be applauded for keeping infrastructure in the public eye and having a plan to finance it. Those who issue blanket statements that public/private partnerships don't work or don't serve the public interest are simply incorrect.

In Canada and elsewhere, the public interest is being well-served with roads, schools and hospitals that simply wouldn't get built otherwise. Of course, the private sector is compensated for its efforts -- nothing is free, even in California. However, the predictability of cost and schedule and a contract to guarantee performance seems to be a reasonable trade-off. Looking backward to the problems of early projects is a way to learn and do better, not stop and do nothing.

There is a wealth of expertise waiting to come to California and help build for the 21st century. We need to tap into those resources, not lock them out.

A sustainable infrastructure policy for California lies in the future, not the past.

Richard G. Little

Los Angeles

The writer is director of the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at USC.

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