United States: P3s And Tax-Exempt Bonds

In the past, states and local governments have relied in large part on low-cost tax-exempt financing to meet their infrastructure needs. While there is a growing consensus that our present infrastructure needs are great, many states and local governments are finding it more difficult to continue to borrow to address such needs due to a number of factors, including constitutional and statutory debt limitations, mounting pension liabilities and flat and/or declining revenues. As a result, a number of states and local governments have turned to public-private partnerships ("P3s") to address infrastructure needs. P3s have been successfully used in Western Europe and Canada for many years but have only recently taken root in the United States. A P3 is an arrangement between a governmental entity and a private entity that allows for greater private sector investment and participation in public projects. Sectors where P3s have been used include transportation, energy (including municipal electric and gas generation and distribution facilities, as well as renewable energy projects), telecommunications, water and wastewater, governmental buildings, healthcare, education, housing (affordable, senior, student and military) and hospitality. While Federal tax law requirements often force governmental entities to choose between low-cost tax-exempt financing and P3s, there are a number of proposals pending that would expand the ability of governmental entities to use both together.

Under Federal tax law, governmental entities may only issue tax-exempt governmental bonds to finance projects where there is little to no private business use. Private business use can arise from any number of arrangements with private entities, including leases and management contracts. Until recently, management contracts generally had to fit within one of the safe harbors set forth in IRS Rev. Proc. 97-13, which essentially only allows for compensation to the private party to be a fixed amount or a fixed amount per unit of service. However, the IRS has recently provided more flexibility with the respect to the terms of such arrangements. Notice 2014-67 added to the list of allowable agreements an agreement where the compensation paid to a private party may include a percentage of gross revenues or expenses of a facility (but not both) so long as the term of the contract is not more than 5 years. In addition, the Notice clarified that a productivity reward generally does not cause the compensation to be based on a share of net profits, which would result in private use, if the eligibility for such award is based on the quality of the services rather than increases in revenues or decreases in expenses and the amount is a stated dollar amount. Even more recently, the IRS released Private Letter Ruling1  201622003, which approved a management contract where a portion of the compensation is an incentive fee that is partly triggered by a variant of net profits. The IRS found that the incentive fee was not structured in such a way that its amount rose in proportion to increases in net profits or fell in proportion to decreases in net profits, and therefore ultimately was not based on a share of net profits. The IRS has indicated that it intends to publish further guidance on management contracts sometime this year, and it is our hope that such guidance will allow for even more flexibility with respect to the terms of such agreements.

In addition to guidance on management contracts, in 2015, the IRS released final allocation and accounting regulations that will also help to facilitate P3s. These regulations allow for "mixed-use" projects where the governmental portion is financed with tax-exempt bonds and the private portion is financed with equity. In addition, with respect to partnerships, the new regulations look through to the partners so that the amount of private business use is only the private partner's use of the property.

In addition to tax-exempt governmental bonds, Federal tax law currently allows tax-exempt private activity bonds to be issued to finance a variety of specified projects, including airports, water and sewer infrastructure, solid waste facilities, public education facilities and highway infrastructure. In fact, a number of large P3 projects in the transportation sector have paired credit assistance under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act ("TIFIA") with tax-exempt qualified highway facility private activity bonds. There are also several administration and congressional proposals to enhance existing private activity bonds and to add new categories of private activity bonds. As part of his 2016 proposed budget, President Obama presented the concept of qualified private infrastructure bonds and there is proposed legislation in Congress that would create Move America Bonds, both of which would help encourage private investment in infrastructure through P3s by allowing for tax-exempt financing of certain types of public facilities where there is private use. Another legislative proposal would add to the list of tax-exempt private activity bonds certain types of governmental buildings and thus allow for state and local governments to utilize tax-exempt financing for P3 projects involving public libraries, public universities and colleges, courthouses, public hospitals and health care, research and laboratory facilities, government offices, and public safety facilities. Under current law, the amount of many private activity bonds that may be issued annually is limited, but water and wastewater infrastructure P3 projects, which municipalities all over the country have increasingly looked to in order to fulfill the massive need for capital improvements in that sector, could be bolstered by proposed legislation that would remove this volume cap limitation for private activity water and wastewater bonds. In a related development, Congress also recently amended the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act ("WIFIA," and modeled after TIFIA) to allow the use of tax-exempt bonds with WIFIA credit assistance.

All in all, leaders in Washington seem to have recognized the growing use of P3s by state and local governments, have taken positive steps to facilitate the combination of P3s and low-cost tax-exempt financing, and are poised to take further action in this area.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions