In Australia, the decision as to whether government should invest in a project (the investment decision) is separated from the decision as to how the project should be delivered (the procurement decision).
The investment decision in user pays projects
It is sometimes thought that a project undertaken on a “user pays” basis does not need to be subject to the same scrutiny as a project paid for with government budget funding.
This is not the case – a “user pays” project must still be considered in the context of government’s overall infrastructure programme.
Any interface issues must be considered – for example, the impact of a user pays toll road on the surrounding road network.
Government contributions (such as land), contingent liabilities (such as payments required on contract termination) and potential benefits must also be considered.