This article explores the success of P3 grants due to the flexibility of federal spending for the grantees.

“Strikingly, just putting a federal process in place to respond to requests for flexibility from P3 sites removed about one-third of the barriers preventing those sites from innovating and operating more efficiently—without even tapping the additional flexibility that Congress provided. That finding is consistent with what the Education Department learned with its “Ed-Flex” initiative in the 1990s: simply creating a process to review and respond to requests for flexibility removed a third of the barriers—no new waiver authority needed.

How could this be? Federal programs, it turns out, often provide more flexibility than states and localities realize. What a mayor or governor might see as an insurmountable constraint to innovation might actually be a myth: federal programs may already allow funds to be used or combined in the ways a mayor or governor wants. What was lacking was a reasonable way for them to find this out.”