CHICAGO-Chicago Transit Authority president Forrest Claypool believes that the use of a public-private partnership could be the key to finally completing the $1.5-billion Red Line extension project.

The CTA has hired Goldman Sachs to study whether a public-private partnership or P3 would be beneficial. In his successful campaign for mayor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised to complete the five-mile extension of the Red Line to 130th St. A P3 would involve private contractors designing, building and financing the Red Line extension for a fixed price, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

“A big international company—oftentimes with a local partnership—[is] willing to take a greater share of the risk in the belief they can deliver the project faster and cheaper than if you go through the normal processes governments have to go through. That’s what’s going on in Denver right now,” Claypool says.

The CTA President adds the private sector response to the Red Line extension and a proposed Red and Purple Line overhaul, which could cost as much as $4 billion to complete, has been enthusiastic. He firmly believes that public-private partnership will be an avenue that could be used to complete these projects.

However, he cautions, “Public-private partnership is one small piece of large infrastructure project…It is one part. It’s not a substitute for public money. It is not a substitute for public investment. These projects usually need local, state, federal, and private dollars to work.” See story in the Chicago Sun-Times.