The future of government purchasing for things like trains, schools and subways is a concession. The government agency enters into an agreement with a private developer to design, build, maintain, operate and finance the asset for a number of years for a particular price, and after the term expires, the asset reverts back to the government.
This is a better model than the government playing all the roles, as the asset tends to get built faster and with a lower cost to the taxpayer.
We should be developing new streetcars (like the Clark Street streetcar that an organization I work with is promoting) and new high-speed train tracks and trains using this concession model, as much of Europe already does.
That's why I'm particularly happy to see the City of Chicago Department of Aviation put out a Request for Proposals for a new solar photovoltaic generation facility on O'Hare airport's land using the concession model.
The RFP is here and they call for a private developer to finance, design, construct, install, operate, maintain, repair and replace a new ground-mounted facility of solar panels on up to 52 acres.
The Department of Aviation has been very innovative under Commissioner Rosie Andolino and I'm glad they are continuing to push the envelope.