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McManus Keynotes Public Private Partnership Conference

by Dave Gatton
December 4, 2000

Lynn (MA) Mayor Patrick J. McManus, co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Urban Water Council, told a gathering of over fifty companies in Washington, D.C. that public/private partnerships were the key to helping cities address the shortfall of capital investment needed to modernize the nation's water and waste water infrastructure.

In his keynote address on October 25, 2000, before the annual meeting of the National Council on Public Private Partnerships, McManus said that his own city of Lynn had just signed an agreement with U.S. Filter for $48 million to prevent wet weather overflows from the city's wastewater treatment facility. Using an RFP approach which required companies bidding on the project to guarantee environmental compliance standards, McManus saved over $400 million compared to initial cost projections.

"Public/private partnerships built on competition can save cities hundreds of millions of dollars," McManus told the group. He went on to say that traditional design, build and operate approaches do not tap into the creativity of the private sector in finding more cost effective solutions to meeting environmental standards.

"The federal government will never be able to provide enough funds to meet the $300 billion of unfunded mandates imposed on local governments for water and waste water infrastructure," he told the executives. "We simply have to bring cost-efficiencies into the system of water and wastewater development," he said. "Otherwise cities will literally drown in the red ink of overpriced systems."

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