Stimulating Public-Private Cooperation for the Strategic Replacement of Infrastructure in the Netherlands

The Role and Formulation of Public-Private Arrangements

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At the dawn of a large infrastructure replacement program in the Netherlands the question rises whether current forms of public-private partnerships in infrastructure projects are sufficient to deal with the complexities involved in large scale replacement of water infrastructure objects. It is stated that the concept of public private cooperation is expected to be able to provide innovative and cost efficient solutions by means of smartly bundling expertise knowledge. Examination of case Stuwen Maas revealed that full cooperation, in the sense of client and contractors becoming equal partners, is not most efficient, however the relationship between public and private parties is strongly moving towards cooperation. In order to further develop public-private cooperation in the Netherlands four recommendations are formulated. First, Rijkswaterstaat (public client) should make performance based governance their core business. Second, Rijkswaterstaat should develop a clear perspective on the future; both with regard to it's own role in infrastructure management, as the development of the infrastructure network itself. Third, both market parties and Rijkswaterstaat should built institutional capacity in order to facilitate cooperative arrangements. Special attention need to be paid to joint development of knowledge, design of clear responsibilities and the creation of a public-private trust relationship in which the cooperative arrangements can thrive. Fourth, further research need to be done into the specification of long-term oriented, flexible and general arrangements, since these arrangements are considered to have the most potential value for strategic replacement of infrastructure.