Two Projects Approved by Public-Private Partnership Board

Nov. 25, 2015

Pennsylvania’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board on Nov. 24, approved a project aiming to improve dozens of county-owned bridges, as well as an initiative to support transit-oriented development at the Middletown train station.

“Having spent the vast majority of my career working in the private sector, I know there are many partnership opportunities with government that can benefit both sides,” Gov. Tom Wolf said of the board’s approvals. “I applaud and support efforts to make transportation services better, or to deliver entirely new ones.”

“Public-private partnerships are one way that we can leverage private-sector ideas and resources to improve transportation in our state,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary and P3 Board Chair Leslie S. Richards added. “Whether started by the department or suggested by the private sector, we have many options to deliver improved or new services.”

One of the approved projects authorizes Northampton County to undertake a P3 to replace 28 bridges and repair six more Northampton County-owned bridges. If advanced by the county, PennDOT would serve in an advisory capacity throughout the procurement.

The project concept was submitted by Clearwater Construction, Inc. of Mercer, PA for consideration during the unsolicited proposal period in October.

PennDOT accepts unsolicited proposals for transportation projects in April and October each year.

Also approved was a project through which PennDOT would support transit-oriented development at the Middletown train station. Through the project, a private developer would design, build, finance, operate and maintain commercially viable facilities on department-owned parcels near the station while maintaining or expanding station parking.

The entity would also be responsible for maintenance at the train station, such as snow removal, and be responsible for those associated operation and maintenance costs. 

Following the board’s approval, in spring 2016 PennDOT will request statements of qualifications from the private sector demonstrating the ability to partner on this project. The department will invite the most qualified proposers to submit proposals for the project once the requirements are finalized.

The Public-Private Transportation Partnerships Act was signed into law in September 2012 and authorized P3 projects in Pennsylvania. This law allows PennDOT and other transportation authorities and commissions to partner with private companies to participate in delivering, maintaining and financing transportation-related projects.

As part of the P3 law, the seven-member Public Private Transportation Partnership Board was appointed to examine and approve potential public-private transportation projects. If the board determines a state operation or project would be more cost-effectively administered or delivered by a private company, the department or appropriate transportation agency can advertise a competitive RFP and enter into a contract with a company to completely or partially deliver the transportation-related service or project.