Brazilian Felipe Montoro Jens is an expert on public infrastructure projects. He recently wrote about how several of the Northeastern states of Brazil are investing in their infrastructure primarily through partnerships between the private and public sectors. The reason they are approaching infrastructure in this way is that they need to avoid federal restrictions as well as deal with less money being offered by the federal coffers for projects of this type. If they want to invest in infrastructure, he says, this approach is the only one that works.

Felipe Montoro Jens uses the state of Bahia as an example. They are building a light rail project that once completed will be 19 miles long with 21 stops along the way. It is replacing the current train and it is expected to serve 1.5 million people. Another state, Piauí, has public-private partnerships building a total of 24 projects of concessions, he says. One example he brings up is the state government working with a sanitation company in order to expand the sewage network in Teresina. One result of this partnership is that everyone will have access to a clean water supply by 2031.

The incarceration industry is also using public-private partnerships Felipe Montoro Jens says. In Maranhão state, he says that they’re being used to build for prisons. These will be able to house up to 2000 prisoners. Another state, Pernambuco, is increasing the amount of private capital that is being used in the sanitation industry. He says that one of the major companies involved in this effort is the Pernambucana Sanitation Company. This private capital will be used to increase the efficiency of this industry as well as expand the distribution system of water and sewage services.

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