Private/Public Partnerships are used by Orange County as a tool to build and improve roads. This allows Orange County to share the cost of roadway construction and improvements with developers. It is a valuable tool but is also A double-edged sword. Listen to Commissioner Moore tell Mr. Nastasi, the Orange County Transportation Planning Manager, how pleased she is with private/public partnerships for roadways and then hear Mr. Nastasi briefly explain a private/public partnership.
It’s a great tool but we have seen where it benefited more the developer than the residents as in the case of Sustany . You may remember that Sustany is the mega-development that included a bridge across the Econ River at McCulloch. It was defeated. In my opinion, that road served the development rather than the residents of Orange County. And it surely would have brought McCulloch Road to it’s knees with the increased traffic across the bridge.
Orange County needs to use this tool wisely and not as the only tool to fund roadways. Orange County has a 1.6 billion dollar shortfall in road improvements and needs to find the money to fill the void without depending entirely on developers and these private/public partnerships.
One nagging question I have is this. The developers spend money to improve the roads but receive impact fees credits that can be used when they build the houses. Isn’t that a net zero to them and the actual cost is born by the residents of Orange County in the long run? Or are the credits a percentage of the money they expend? Either way it does seem as though the developer gets a benefit in the form of impact fee credits.