A bill to create public-private partnerships on transportation projects moved one step closer to becoming a reality on Monday.
With a 26-4 vote, the state Senate approved legislation that would allow state and local governments to enter into contracts with private businesses related to mass transportation projects in an effort to alleviate congestion in areas such as Nashville.
Proponents of the measure argue it is a more cost-efficient approach than letting government tackle the issue on its own.
“This is just another tool in the toolbox,” the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, said while introducing the measure.
Ketron fielded a question from Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, who was worried about the possibility that a road or highway could become inoperable in the event that a private company went bankrupt.
Ketron said the amended version of the legislation eliminates roads, bridges, tunnels and overpasses and allows public-private partnerships only for mass transportation projects.
“We have to do something now — we are in a crisis from a transportation standpoint,” he said.
The House finance committee is expected to discuss its version of the bill Wednesday.