Public-private partnerships don’t appear to be as popular lately, with Congress tossing the president’s infrastructure finance plan and more than 80 organizations signing a letter imploring the World Bank to stop supporting infrastructure-related P3s.
However, most trends suggest the U.S. transportation P3 sector is just getting off the ground, Governing reports.
But all the focus on P3s for infrastructure misses the fact that there’s more money to be made—and, for governments, potentially saved—in people and services, rather than roads and bridges.
For example, Propel, a tech startup based in Brooklyn, has developed a mobile app called Fresh EBT that serves food stamp recipients. The free app allows recipients to track their spending, develop a grocery budget and find sales at local participating grocery stores. In turn, Propel makes money by selling ad space on its app.
Early results show Fresh EBT customers stretch their benefits further and eat healthier.
The ultimate measure of success is scalability. Food stamps reach 45 million people and account for $70 billion in annual federal and state spending.
Another example is Honor, an app that serves the $250 billion home care industry. Millions of elderly Americans need some combination of non-medical in-home services like preventive health care, transportation and nutrition monitoring.
Perhaps more important, small changes at the margins, such as making these programs work more efficiently and effectively, could mean billions in state and local savings.