HARRISBURG – Progress on a public-private partnership (P3) to quickly replace hundreds of structurally deficient bridges continued yesterday, as PennDOT hosted an industry forum to educate potential, private-sector stakeholders on the project’s scope and requirements.
The forum was held in Hershey and was assembled after the project was approved by the P3 Board on Sept. 27.
“While we look to the legislature to act on transportation funding when they return to session next week, we’re continuing to use our existing dollars more efficiently. Increased partnership with the private sector is part of that commitment,” PennDOT Secretary and P3 Board Chairman Barry J. Schoch said. “Bringing in a third party to help with this bridge project effectively uses the P3 law signed by Governor Corbett, but the project could have even more impact if the state had more dollars to invest.”
Through the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, 200 to 300 structurally deficient bridges of similar design would be replaced under one contract to streamline design and construction. The successful low-bidder would manage the bridges’ design, construction and maintenance. Cost savings are anticipated since the same basic design and construction standards could be used for multiple bridges. The low-bidder would also maintain bridges for a yet-to-be-determined number of years.
As the project scope is based on current PennDOT funding availability, the project could be adjusted or have additional bridges added if the General Assembly passes a transportation funding plan.
In September 2012, 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.
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.
To learn more about P3 in Pennsylvania, visit www.P3forPA.pa.gov.