NCPPP and PBBC Host First P3s for Public Buildings Summit

The inaugural P3s for Public Buildings Summit will be held on November 17-18, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, FL. The summit will be hosted by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships and the Performance Based Building Coalition.

The summit will explore ways that P3s can be developed and implemented to replace the nation’s deteriorating public buildings, including schools, hospitals, courthouses, universities, police stations and prisons.

  • Topics of discussion will include:
  • Financing of projects;
  • Federal policy challenges and solutions;
  • Case studies of successful projects;
  • The future of the market place; and
  • International successes.

To view the summit agenda, click here. To register for the summit, click here.
 

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee's Panel on Public-Private Partnerships Release Recommendations

On September 17, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Panel on Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) released its report and recommendations.  The group, empaneled in February of this year, was tasked with examining “issues regarding public-private partnerships across all aspects of the Committee’s jurisdiction.”  The panel held two hearings and seven roundtable discussions in addition to other meetings and briefings. The report recognizes that the nation’s infrastructure needs are extraordinary and P3s in certain situations can provide innovative solutions, and in some ways, incentives for projects to be delivered on-time and on-budget.

Under three broad areas, the panel makes a series of recommendations:

  1. Improving Public Sector Capacity;
  2. Breaking Down Barriers to Consideration; and
  3. Ensuring Transparency and Accountability.

Improving Public Sector Capacity:

The panel recommends directing the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to create a “Transportation Procurement Office” to work with federal funding recipients to implement best practices for design-bid-build, design-build, and P3 procurements, including P3 model contracts. The Transportation Procurement Office would also develop and institute project delivery performance standards for the same three types of procurements. It would also “issue best practices on standardizing state P3 authorities and practices.” The report also recommends directing USDOT to require State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs) to submit annual reports on project procurement performance as measured against the Transportation Procurement Office’s standards. USDOT should also “encourage the simplification and standardization of P3 contracts,” act as a clearinghouse for “lessons learned,” and encourage inter-state coordination in creating legislation to authorize P3 procurements so that states successfully using P3s can share their expertise. 

In background notes on these recommendations, the panel observes that because State DOTs currently contract for most design work and project construction, they are already engaging in P3s. But missing in these current contract structures are the incentives for on-time and on-budget performance.

Breaking Down Barriers to Consideration:

The panel supports a continuation of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program and encourages “Congress to review Private Activity Bond (PAB) eligibility to support infrastructure P3s across the jurisdiction of the Committee.”  It also makes specific recommendations to USDOT and other federal agencies to encourage the use of P3s, such as clarifying the “statutory authority to allow states to use federal-aid highway funds to ensure robust competition in P3 procurements.”  It encourages federal agencies currently implementing TIFIA to share lessons learned as the federal government begins to implement the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). Additionally, it recommends changes in budgetary scoring rules and fully utilizing existing lease authorities as they relate to property leases.

Ensuring Transparency and Accountability:

The panel makes several recommendations that would provide additional information to the public about components of P3s that use federal grants, loans and tax incentives. The Panel recommends that USDOT be directed to require P3 project sponsors using federal funds to make publicly available a Value for Money (VfM) analysis before advancing the project via a P3 procurement.  The panel also recommends directing agencies to provide a “detailed summary” of federal investment in the project at the time federal funds are committed. The report suggests that key terms and conditions of P3s using federal funds be made available to the public “at an appropriate time in the decision-making process.” Further, the panel recommends requiring public project sponsors to conduct a review of P3 projects that utilized federal funds within three years of construction completion or revenue service and make publicly available information about whether the private partners are living up to the goals of the agreement.

In background notes on these recommendations, the panel observes that VfM analyses currently vary in “quality and content” and are not always publicly available. The panel also heard concerns that the public should be made aware of all factors involved in the P3 delivery method to make a fully informed decision about an agreement that could last for 30 years or more.
 

FHWA Publishes Core Toll Concession P3 Model Contract Guide

The FHWA published its final Core Toll Concessions P3 Model Contract Guide (“Guide”) on September 10, 2014 as part of its mandate under MAP-21 to develop “standard public-private partnership transaction model contracts for the most popular types of public-private partnerships.”  The Guide serves as an educational tool to assist states, public transportation agencies, and other public officials in developing their own public-private partnership agreements. 

The FHWA determined an educational approach is preferred to prescriptive requirements based on feedback received during a “listening session” in January with industry representatives.  Prior to publication of the final Guide, the FHWA also considered written comments received after publication of the draft Core Toll Concession Model Contract Guide in February of this year. 

The Guide covers many of the most important (and most commonly misunderstood) contract provisions in the toll concession P3 model.  It includes an explanation of tolling regulations and the risks of user demand for the project.  The Guide also explains benefit-sharing contract provisions, which are common in toll concession projects and generally require the Developer to share certain financial benefits with the project owner during the term of the contract. 

Because project risks are apportioned differently in a public-private partnership model than in more traditional contract models, the Guide explains how the P3 model may impact supervening events, such as force majeure events or other delay events.  The Guide also details many of the risks associated with potential changes in the equity interests of a contract bidder’s team. 

The FHWA plans to publish an Addendum to the Guide that will address in less detail secondary contract provisions such as performance standards, contract duration, Federal requirements, and performance security. 

The FHWA will also publish for public comment additional draft guides for other contract models in coming months and will publish an Availability Payments Model P-3 Contracts Guide in 2014. 
 

Florida Department of Transportation Reaches Commercial and Financial Close on I-4 Ultimate Project

The Florida Department of Transportation reached commercial and financial close on the I-4 Ultimate Project in the urban Orlando area.  The $2.3 billion deal is the third transportation P3 project in Florida developed through an availability payment structure, and is the largest availability payment transaction ever undertaken in the United States.

FDOT entered into an agreement with I-4 Mobility Partners OpCo LLC, a consortium led by Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc. and John Laing Investments Limited.  The Concessionaire will design, construct, finance, maintain and operate the Project for 40 years.

The I-4 Ultimate Project involves reconstruction of 21 miles of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County.  Along with developing a signature corridor with aesthetics and landscaping to convey the “Florida Experience,” the Project will provide a choice to motorists by adding four variable tolled Express Lanes to I-4 while maintaining the existing free general use lanes.  The design phase of the Project will begin within the next month and FDOT anticipates construction will begin in early 2015.  Through the P3 delivery model, the Concessionaire was able to provide significant technical enhancements, including direct connections from the Express Lanes to SR 408, additional auxiliary lanes and an additional pedestrian bridge along the facility.

FDOT and the Concessionaire worked expeditiously toward financial close with lenders including a consortium of six commercial banks and the Federal Highway Administration through the TIFIA credit assistance program.  This allowed FDOT to benefit from the low interest rate environment which resulted in a $68.7 million (net present value in 2014 dollars) decrease when compared to the I-4 Mobility Partners financial proposal.  I-4 Mobility Partners invested $104 million in the Project and commercial banks and TIFIA are lending $486 million and $949 million, respectively, to the Project.  The TIFIA is the largest loan ever undertaken under the TIFIA program.

Moody's assigned a provisional Baa1 rating to Concessionaire’s senior construction bank loan, short term Tranche A TIFIA loans, and long term Tranche B TIFIA loans.  S&P assigned a preliminary BBB issue rating to the proposed construction loan facility and TIFIA loan.  An S&P Analyst, Dhaval Shah, noted that “[t]he rating reflects our view of the project's contractual structure, which appropriately allocates risk between the project and FDOT, and our assessment of the project's risks in completing construction on time and within budget, and in operating the project over the long-term concession.”

FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said: “This is a monumental milestone for one of the most congested corridors of the state, which draws millions of tourists and is an important mid-point in Florida for commerce and commuters.  The project gives us the opportunity to show how a successful Public-Private Partnership works, through construction and beyond, benefitting those who count on great infrastructure, which feeds a robust economy.”

Congressman Daniel Webster said the following regarding the benefit of structuring the I-4 Ultimate project as a P3 transaction: “Transportation is the economic engine that fuels Florida’s economy.  As a public private partnership, the I-4 Ultimate project will save hardworking taxpayers’ dollars while delivering the project nearly two decades sooner than could otherwise be expected. It will provide critical infrastructure that will enable us to continue to expand our business development, cultivate growth, and create jobs.  This is a big win for Central Florida.”

The FDOT press release can be found on the Project website.

Nossaman advised FDOT on the procurement, financing and contracts for the I-4 Ultimate Project.

Tae Yeon Do co-authored this post.

"Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts": New California Infrastructure Financing Law Passes Legislature

By Albert Reyes.

Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts will soon become a reality for many cities and counties looking for a mechanism to perform some functions previously done by redevelopment agencies.  Senate Bill 628 (SB 628) passed the State legislature on August 30, 2014 which, when signed by the Governor, would expand the use of Infrastructure Financing Districts.

SB 628 authorizes the legislative body of a city or county to establish an enhanced infrastructure financing district, adopt an infrastructure financing plan, and issue bonds, for which only the enhanced infrastructure financing district is liable, to finance public capital facilities or other specified projects of communitywide significance.

Under SB 628 the legislative body is required to establish a public financing authority (a governing board of the enhanced infrastructure financing district, comprised of members of the legislative body of the participating entities and of the public), prior to the adoption of a resolution to form an enhanced infrastructure district and infrastructure financing plan.  Unlike current state law for infrastructure financing districts, a two-thirds vote is not required to form an enhanced infrastructure financing district.  Proceedings for the establishment of an enhanced infrastructure financing district require the adoption of a resolution of intention that, among other things, states the boundaries of the enhanced infrastructure financing district, the type of public facilities and development proposed to be financed or assisted by the enhanced infrastructure financing district, and the need for the district and the goals the enhanced infrastructure financing district proposes to achieve. The legislative body is required to hold a public hearing before passing a resolution that adopts the infrastructure financing plan. After the plan is adopted, the legislative body may adopt a resolution of formation creating the enhanced infrastructure financing district.

The public financing authority may issue bonds upon approval of 55% of the qualified electors of the enhanced infrastructure financing district. Tax increment financing would fund infrastructure projects such as highways, interchanges, transit facilities, sewage treatment and water reclamation plants, brownfield restoration and other environmental mitigation, low and moderate income housing, and transit priority projects, pursuant to the infrastructure financing plan and the agreement of affected taxing entities.  The enhanced infrastructure financing district would exist for 45 years from the date on which the issuance of bonds is approved.

As a  way to fill the void left by the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, SB 628 authorizes an enhanced infrastructure financing district to finance a project or portion of a project that is located in, or overlaps with, a redevelopment project area or former redevelopment project area. Cities or counties that created a redevelopment agency are prohibited from creating a district until the successor agency has received a finding of completion, the city or county certifies that no former redevelopment agency assets are the subject of litigation involving the state, where the city or county, the successor agency or the designated local authority are a named plaintiff and other events related to the wind down of the former redevelopment agency have been satisfied. The debt or obligation of an enhanced infrastructure financing district is subordinate to an enforceable obligation of a former redevelopment agency.

With the absence of redevelopment, SB 628 provides cities and counties the authority they need to build public infrastructure and it will increase investment in a variety of infrastructure through multiple funding streams, including private investment and procurement.
 

Federal Highway Administration Publishes New Rule for Value Engineering

On Friday, September 5, 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) published its final rule for Value Engineering (“VE”) for road and bridge projects.  The new rule implements changes made to VE requirements under Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (“MAP-21”), the last surface transportation authorization law that was signed into law in July 2012.

The FHWA’s final rule for VE increases the project thresholds that trigger a VE analysis, eliminates the VE analysis requirement for design-build projects, and defines the requirements for a state Department of Transportation (“DOT”) to establish and sustain a VE program.  Particularly, the prior project thresholds that prompted a VE analysis included federal-aid highway projects on the National Highway System (“NHS”) costing $25 million or more (as established in the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995) and bridge projects with an estimated total cost of $20 million or more and any other projects as determined by the Secretary of Transportation (as established in SAFETEA-LU in 2005).  Under the new rule, the project thresholds for VE are $50,000,000 or more for projects on the NHS that use federal-aid highway program funding assistance and $40,000,000 or more for bridge projects on the NHS that receive federal assistance.

In addition, the new rule eliminates the requirement for VE on design-build projects.  It should be noted, however, that under the new rule the FHWA continues to “encourage” a VE analysis for design-build projects on or off the NHS with an estimated cost of $25 million or more.

Finally, the new rule establishes the requirements for state DOTs to create VE programs for all applicable projects.

The final rule for VE goes into effect on October 6, 2014.

FTA Publishes Guidance on Joint Development

Earlier this week, on August 25, 2014, the Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”) published Circular 7050.1, providing much anticipated guidance for grantees interested in pursuing joint development projects within FTA’s legal and regulatory framework.  The circular incorporates joint-development related provisions from MAP-21, and is intended to clarify FTA’s policy and serve as its single guidance document on the subject. 

Specifically, the circular: (1) defines the term “joint development”; (2) explains how a joint development project can qualify for FTA assistance; (3) describes the legal requirements that apply to the acquisition, use, and disposition of real property previously acquired with FTA assistance (“FTA-assisted real property”); (4) outlines the most common crosscutting federal requirements that apply to joint development projects; and (5) describes FTA’s process for reviewing and analyzing joint development proposals.

For more information on joint development within the FTA framework or to view the new circular, click here.

To read our E-Alert on this topic, click here.

The Texas Department of Transportation and Abrams-Kiewit Joint Venture Reach Agreement on the Loop 375 Border Highway West Extension Project

On August 22, 2014, the Texas Department of Transportation and Abrams-Kiewit Joint Venture (Developer) reached commercial close on the Loop 375 Border Highway West Extension Project (Project).  The contract, which includes design-build and comprehensive maintenance agreements (collectively the CDA), was conditionally awarded to the Developer in April of this year.  Developer is a joint venture consisting of J.D. Abrams and Kiewit Infrastructure South Co.

The Project is located west of downtown El Paso, south of Interstate Highway 10 (I-10) and extends approximately nine miles from Racetrack Drive near Doniphan Road and New Mexico 273 east to US 54, one mile east of Park Street. The Project includes the design, construction and comprehensive maintenance of a four-lane, controlled access tolled facility from Racetrack Drive to the terminus of the existing Loop 375, in the vicinity of Santa Fe Street, a distance of approximately 5.6 miles.  The cost of the Project is approximately $525 million, excluding maintenance.

The Project will provide an alternate route for Interstate Highway 10 to address needed improvements to system capacity, reliability and regional system linkage for the El Paso metropolitan area.  Under the terms of the design-build CDA, the Developer will design and construct a four-lane controlled access facility, of which the majority is on elevated structure.  The Project includes about 5.6 miles of tolled lanes, ramps, interchanges and intersection improvements.  The Project also includes demolition of existing Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad mainline and cross-over track, and the design and construction on new alignment of approximately 10,000 feet of Union Pacific Railroad mainline track, approximately 2,000 feet of setout track and approximately one mile of Burlington Northern Santa Fe cross-over track.

The Developer will perform comprehensive maintenance services under the CDA, including routine maintenance, capital maintenance and incident management, for an initial term of five years after completion of construction.  At TxDOT’s option, the Developer’s performance of comprehensive maintenance services may be extended for up to two additional five-year terms after the initial five-year term.

The El Paso area has experienced significant growth over the past several years, resulting in increasing congestion and challenges to safety and mobility.  To address these concerns, the Project will include plans for improving regional travel and connectivity, and enhancing safety on Loop 375.  Improved access to the University of Texas at El Paso, Fort Bliss, downtown and medical centers will provide additional benefits to motorists.

The Project, which is being constructed in collaboration with the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA), is expected to break ground in early 2015 and is scheduled to be completed by fall of 2017.

Linda Cunningham co-authored this post.

OCTA 91 Express Lanes Bonds Get 2 A's from S&P

In an historic move, Standard & Poor’s upgraded the Orange County Transportation Agency SR91 Express Lanes Toll Revenue Bonds to “AA-”, making it one the highest rated managed lanes projects in the world.  The bonds were issued last year to refund bonds that were issued in 2003 when OCTA acquired the SR91 Express Lanes project from the private consortium that developed the project under California’s prior P3 law.

The 91 Express Lanes is a four-lane, 10-mile toll road built in the median of California’s Riverside Freeway, State Route 91, between the Orange/Riverside County line and the Costa Mesa Freeway, SR 55. “It was the first privately financed toll road built in the U.S. in more than 50 years, the world's first fully automated toll facility, and the first application of value pricing in the U.S.,” according to the S&P report.

S&P analysts cited an expectation that the region's fundamental economic and demographic trends will continue to support growth for the upgrade, and that traffic and revenue performance will meet or exceed projected levels.  Annual traffic volume in the corridor grew to 12.1 million vehicles in fiscal 2013 from 5.5 million in 1996, according to the S&P report.  The availability of high-paying jobs in Orange County combined with the more reasonably priced homes available in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has kept traffic to the managed-lane toll road robust.
 

Secretary Foxx Holds Virtual National Town Hall, Addresses Transportation Policy

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx chaired a “virtual” town hall meeting, entitled “Moving from Uncertainty to Long-Term Transportation Investment,” on August 6, 2014.  The town hall was open to the general public, as well as business leaders, transportation advocates, and state and local government officials.  Secretary Foxx discussed the United States Department of Transportation’s (“US DOT”) vision for the future of transportation, as well as answered questions from attendees about transportation policy.

In his opening remarks, and throughout the question and answer session, Secretary Foxx stressed the importance of a long-term fix for transportation funding and policy, calling for a renewal of the current surface transportation authorization by the end of 2014.  As the Secretary pointed out, the United States is in a transportation crisis that has only been temporarily mitigated by the short-term extension passed last week by Congress.  The Secretary stressed that we “can’t afford to sit on our hands” and wait until May 2015 to pass a new long-term transportation bill, reminding viewers that when the 113th Congress is adjourned, all pending legislation will expire.  Thus, waiting for the next Congressional term to re-focus on long-term transportation will mean waiting for the new Congress to become oriented and start transportation discussions anew.

In addition, Secretary Foxx shared some of the US DOT’s priorities for the next long-term transportation authorization, including:

  • Ensuring that the Highway Trust Fund (“HTF”) is stabilized so projects can be planned and built.
  • Investing in freight movement (highways, rails, and ports), thereby increasing manufacturing and getting more Americans back to work.
  • Speeding up projects through streamlining efforts.
  • Creating more opportunities for private-sector investment in transportation infrastructure.

The Secretary also emphasized the importance of multi-modalism and multi-state connectivity in the nation’s transportation system, specifically speaking to inter-modal and inter-state connections and how those connections will improve freight movement.  Further, the Secretary referred to the lack of a stable funding source for passenger rail, stating that options give commuters the ability to make a choice in transportation modes, making travel times more predictable.

Secretary Foxx went on to encourage the public, and state and local leaders, to continue to speak out about transportation challenges in their communities, especially to their Congressional representation.  The Secretary maintained that there is an inherent lack of understanding of the effects of either short-term transportation extensions or short-term transportation authorizations that have occurred over the decade, preventing state and local governments from planning and delivering transportation projects with certainty that the federal government will be a partner.
 

Port of Miami Tunnel Open for Traffic

On August 3, 2014, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Port of Miami achieved an important milestone when the est. $1 billion Port of Miami Tunnel opened for traffic.  The project consists of twin tunnels under Biscayne Bay linking Port facilities on Dodge Island with a widened MacArthur Causeway and I-395.  One of the first public-private partnerships in the United States to use an availability payment contracting structure, the tunnel improves access for freight trucks and cruise passengers, reducing traffic congestion in downtown Miami and improving air quality.

Under the concession agreement, FDOT made milestone payments to the concessionaire during the construction period, upon the achievement of contractual milestones.  With the operating period now underway, FDOT will make availability payments to the concessionaire, contingent upon lane availability and service quality. The project was awarded to a Concessionaire headed by Meridiam (approx. 90% equity) and Bouygues Construction (approximately 10% equity) and reached financial close in October, 2009, at the height of the recession following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  

In March, President Obama toured the construction site for the new tunnel while promoting a new initiative intended to encourage more projects like the Port of Miami Tunnel.  The president emphasized the important role of partnerships between public and private sectors as a part of the solution to the critical need to rebuild and upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges and ports. 

Financed with the combination of bank loans and a TIFIA loan, the project has received numerous awards, including The Bond Buyer’s 2010 “Nontraditional Financing Deal of the Year,” “Global Deal of the Year” and “P3 Deal of the Year” from Project Finance Magazine in 2009, Project Finance International’s 2009 “North American P3 Deal of the Year” and the 2007 “Project of the Year” by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
 

Six Teams Submit SOQs for UC Merced 2020 P3 Project

The Regents of the University of California (the “Regents”), on behalf of the University of California, Merced (“UC Merced”), announced on August 1, 2014 that it received Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from six teams in response to a Request for Qualifications for the UC Merced 2020 P3 Project.

The respondents and their equity members are (in alphabetical order):

- Edgemoor Plenary EdR Partners (EP2):  Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate LLC, Plenary Group USA Ltd., and Education Realty Trust, Inc.
- E3 2020:  Balfour Beatty Investments, Inc.
- Gateway2Learn:  HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions North America and Meridiam Gateway2Learn, LLC
- Innovation Partners:  Hunt Development Group LLC and Shikun & Binui, Ltd.
- Merced Campus Collaborative:  Lend Lease (US) Investments, Inc., Macquarie Capital Group Limited and American Campus Communities, Inc.
- Merced 2020 Partners:  Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc. and Fengate Capital Management Ltd.

The complete list of respondent team members may be found at the UC Merced 2020 Project website.

The Project represents the second phase of campus development under UC Merced’s Long Range Development Plan and involves a significant campus expansion to support projected enrollment growth from 6,200 current students to 10,000 students by the year 2020. 

The project consists of the comprehensive development, design, construction, and financing of academic, administrative, research, recreational, student residence and student services buildings, together with utilities and infrastructure, outdoor recreation and open space areas, and associated roadways, parking and landscaping.  The project will also include operations and maintenance of some or all of these facilities.  The Regents intend to make shortlist decisions in November, 2014. 

Tae Yeon Do co-authored this post.
 

Congress Rallies for Short-Term Highway Trust Fund Patch

Congress passed a bill (HR 5021) to provide a short-term funding patch for the Highway Trust Fund (“HTF”), just one day before the United States Department of Transportation was scheduled to begin slowing reimbursements to states for eligible highway, bridge, and mass transit projects.  A failure to act by Congress had the potential to slow-down or stop any number of transportation construction projects across the country in the midst of the construction season.

After volleying the bill back and forth between the chambers over the course of this week, Congress passed a final bill that adopts the House of Representative’s original language, allowing existing surface transportation programs to continue through May 2015 and topping up the HTF with transfers from the General Fund equaling $9.8 billion and $1 billion from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank fund (for a total patch of $10.8 billion).  The General Fund transfer will be offset using pension smoothing and customs user fees over the 2014 to 2024 period.  Congress acted as its members counted down the hours to a five-week recess.

The passage of HR 5021 averts delays in payments from the HTF, delays that were the subject of multiple warnings from Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.  The crisis drew so near that Secretary Foxx released cash management procedures to state departments of transportation in early July 2014.

It is anticipated that President Barack Obama will sign HR 5021 into law.

This short-term funding fix to the HTF is only the first transportation hurdle facing Congress.  In addition, the most recent surface transportation authorization bill (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) expires on October 1, 2014.  Congress must act to pass a new surface transportation authorization or an extension of MAP-21 in order to extend surface transportation policy beyond that date.  Additionally, Congress will need to address the federal transportation funding mechanism (which has primarily been the federal gas tax, last raised in 1993), which currently does not raise enough revenue to cover the backlog of transportation projects.

EPA Won't Require Formal Rulemaking for WIFIA Program

During the “Use of WIFIA” breakout session at the NCPPP P3 Connect conference this week in Denver, Elizabeth Corr, Associate Division Director for the EPA, confirmed that the agency will not need to complete the formal federal rulemaking process to implement the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.  The Act, or WIFIA, was recently enacted by Congress to make low cost loans and loan guarantees available to public and private sponsors of water projects and is based on the highly successful TIFIA program for transportation projects.  Ms. Corr mentioned that EPA conducted its first listening session and plans several others around the country to hear from interested parties about how to best implement the program.  EPA has also setup a website, wifia@epa.gov, to provide information about the program.  Jordan Dorfman, Attorney-Advisor for EPA, acknowledged that there were unique challenges to implementing the program, including the prohibition on the use of tax exempt financing in conjunction with WIFIA assistance and the need to deal with the so-called “springing lien” provision.
 

National Conference for Public-Private Partnerships Concludes P3 Connect Summit

After a re-boot, the National Conference for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) concluded a three day summit July 30 in Denver, Colorado on all things P3.

NCPPP’s “P3 Connect” annual meeting held programs addressing P3 project delivery in the water/waste water, federal and state disaster recovery, U.S. Department of Defense/U.S. General Service Administration (GSA) and emerging “social infrastructure” spaces, in addition to the more traditional transportation/transit spaces that has seen recent sustained growth in the United States.

Nossaman’s Barney Allison facilitated a panel of state transportation officials discussing the value proposition of the P3 strategy.  Panel members included Dale Witmer, Special Assistant for Finance and Innovation at the Pennsylvania DOT, Doug Koelemay, Executive Director for the Virginia Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships and Michael Cheroutes, Director of Colorado’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise (“HPTE”).  Mr. Cheroutes was also awarded NCPPP’s 2014 National P3 Leadership Award for both his work and his colleagues’ work in integrating P3 solutions to Colorado DOT’s booming transportation infrastructure demands.

Several panels and presentations focused on P3 strategies to address the need to update federal and public buildings.  Dan Tangherlini, recent appointee as Administrator of the GSA presented to a general session of attendees on GSA’s successes in Washington D.C. in “swap” arrangements, which he viewed as successful precursors to more fulsome P3 arrangements across the country.  NCPPP recognized the 200 Eye Street SE project - a social infrastructure project - with its “Infrastructure Project Award.” 

Since NCPPP’s relaunch earlier in 2014, the organization has sought to balance state interests and projects with federal interests, projects and policy advocacy, and has expanded beyond transportation infrastructure focus.  Overall, NCPPP exists to educate stakeholders and interested parties in the utility of P3 project delivery solutions.