What is Performance-Based Infrastructure?

Performance-Based Infrastructure (PBI) is a pay-for-performance model for delivering public infrastructure. PBI keeps infrastructure in public ownership and consolidates responsibility for the key phases of a project’s full lifecycle–design, construction, and maintenance–into a single, performance-based contract with a private partner. PBI procurements can also include elements of private sector financing and operational responsibility.

PBI should be viewed, first and foremost, as a project delivery method rather than a funding or financing mechanism. When utilized appropriately, the PBI method can provide public sponsors with a number of benefits when compared to traditional infrastructure procurement methods. These include:

  • Design and construction innovations
  • Shorter design and construction timelines
  • Improved cost and schedule certainty
  • Lower lifecycle costs
  • Long-term performance guarantees

For those familiar with public-private partnerships (also referred to as P3s), PBI is a similar concept. The term public-private partnership, however, suffers from a lack of consensus concerning a definition — it often carries a different meaning for different people.

Thus, WCX has sought to establish a common understanding in the form of the Performance-Based Infrastructure method. While many of the external links located on the Resources tab reference public-private partnerships, WCX would encourage readers to view the content through a PBI ‘lens.’

As part of its mission, WCX provides public agencies in Washington, Oregon, and California with training, education, and technical assistance on the PBI delivery method. Click here for a description of WCX’s initial training services.