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Guidelines for Public-Private Dialogue G-55 The institutional action that needs to be taken is to provide and position expert support where planners can call on it as needed. An indefinite quantities contract, sponsored by the DOT with MPO support and let to one or more consortia, is a logical method (and some states may have services on call now). Its advantages are that (1) it establishes an accessible and variable budget; (2) the qualification of facilitators takes place in a deliberate fashion away from the time pressures of specific negotiations, and contracting mechanisms are put in place beforehand; and (3) the expert resource can be shared among multiple user groups and needs--perhaps improving vendor negotiations or the handling of land use conflicts--and thus the procurement does not have to be justified by rail issues alone. An additional advantage is that the availability of media- tion tends to spur parties to reach a settlement, so that they can avoid the more formal process. Step 2: Develop--Courses of professional instruction for public freight planners, or for rail- road officials expected to manage public partnerships, should include conflict resolution in the curriculum. At a minimum, this would provide instruction in basic techniques and prepare prac- titioners to engage in facilitated transactions at a more sophisticated level. Moving beyond basics into a more ambitious program of development, at least two further steps can be taken. First, a series of short training workshops, expressly devoted to resolving differences in public-private partnerships, can be launched toward a mixed target audience of planners and industry officials. The series would be designed to initiate partnership improvement, instill elementary expertise more rapidly, fortify relationships, and foster belief in the potential for success. There is no point in such workshops if there is not also an understanding among participants that rail partnerships will be implemented--in other words, there will be no interest in making them better if there is no mechanism to make them happen at all. Given that, the series could be established as an addi- tional scope element in the indefinite quantities contracts for expert support, with attendees defraying some of the cost through fees. Or, a phased approach could begin with an orientation to methods of dispute resolution at a national or large regional gathering, using the associations and conferences of TRB, AASHTO, or AMPO, or as an addition to FHWA programs. Second, individuals or organizations could be selected by DOTs, acting alone or in groups, to be developed as internal experts in collaborative dispute resolution and designated to serve a sub- sidiary network of planners with guidance and intervention as needed. While outside experts are needed initially and may be best long term for regions whose partnership opportunities will be infrequent, more active regions could want a high degree of institutional skill. For them, the use of external capacity initiates a process of knowledge transfer that builds into long-range, in-house capability through training and experience. By concentrating this development on select recipients who then serve others, the program can avoid creating planners whose skills are insufficient because they handle disputes infrequently. These specialists then may be attached to dedicated institutions like joint powers authorities, whose value in the management of rail partnerships is discussed else- where in this guide. Conflicts between the public and private sector are inherent in their distinct objectives and structures and may arise whatever the qualities of a project. Such conflicts do not need to stymie partnership or prevent action and, in some ways conflicts can be welcomed, because they bring into the open forces that need to be reconciled. Collaborative dispute resolution is a productive method for contending with these forces and can be developed into a readily available tool for public and private planners. 4.3 Distribution of Labor Public-private rail partnerships can consume substantial staff time and effort, given their unfa- miliarity. All stakeholders must acknowledge the burden of coordination with other groups, but assumption of leadership for certain categories of effort will lessen the staff resources required. This can be done by organizing the distribution of labor.