PennDOT Recommends Two P3 Proposals for Additional Consideration

AASHTO Journal, 26 July 2013

Pennsylvania’s Office of Public Private Partnerships this week announced that it has received six unsolicited proposals for transportation projects, two of which will be considered by the P3 board this fall.

In September 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed into law the Public and Private Partnerships for Transportation Act, which 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.

“Governor Corbett wisely insisted that P3 projects play a vital role in helping to meet or expand transportation services, and today we are happy to announce that two projects will be delivered to the P3 board this fall for their concurrence,” PennDOT Secretary and P3 Board Chairman Barry J. Schoch said in a statement.

In early May, PennDOT announced that it was accepting proposals from the private sector on innovative ways to deliver transportation projects across a variety of modes including roads, bridges, rail, aviation, and ports.

While six proposals were received, the department recommended that two projects be considered by the P3 board at their meeting in September.

One proposal submitted by Paoli-based Site Acquisition Services, Inc., calls for working with PennDOT to identify and market PennDOT-controlled structures such as bridges, signs, buildings, and maintenance facilities where wireless antennas and related equipment can be attached. The company would then market those opportunities to wireless service providers that may find those locations desirable to improve signals in the surrounding areas. PennDOT would receive a rental fee for the use of its facilities.

The other proposal being sent to the P3 board is from Bentley Systems, Inc., and calls for PennDOT to replace its aging Automated Permit Routing Analysis System (APRAS), used to issue special hauling permits, with the company’s commercially available turn-key system already deployed in neighboring states.

Board approval would allow the department to proceed with advertising a Request for Proposals (RFP) based on the concepts in the unsolicited proposals. The RFP process will ensure any products or services are competitively purchased and achieve maximum value for the state and its taxpayers.

In addition to the two proposals moving for board consideration, PennDOT has recommended conducting more detailed studies on two other proposals. One proposal calls for the installation of a secure, high-speed wireless network along 200 miles of navigable waterways in western Pennsylvania. PennDOT also recommended a more detailed study on a proposal to construct a new Capital Area Transit maintenance facility.

Two proposals were not selected for action because they lacked necessary research to demonstrate their feasibility or because details were not specific.

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.

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