Virginia Releases Draft P3 Pipeline for 2013 for Industry Comment

After achieving several P3 project milestones and awards in 2012, Virginia’s Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OTP3) on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia released a draft document entitled “2013 Virginia PPTA Project Pipeline” for public comment.  The document identified the following 10 projects as potential P3 projects to be procured under Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act:

  • I-66 Corridor Improvements
  • Air Rights Development
  • I-64 HOV to HOT Lane Conversion
  • I-64 Peninsula Improvements
  • Hampton Roads Crossing Improvements
  • I-73 Corridor
  • Route 460 / 58 Connector
  • I-495 Express Lanes Extension
  • Cell Towers / Fiber Optic within Right of Way
  • Route 460 / I-85 Connector

There is a 30-day comment period ending on August 1, 2013.  Also, the OTP3 will be hosting a webinar on July 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm eastern to discuss the draft 2013 Virginia PPTA Project Pipeline in more detail.  Additional information can be found at the OTP3 website.

Virginia Releases P3 Public Outreach Materials

A key element of a successful P3 program is an effective and comprehensive public outreach strategy.  Demonstrating why Virginia remains a leader in closing P3 transportation deals, the Virginia Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OTP3) recently prepared a variety of fact sheets, presentations and FAQs focusing on different aspects of P3s in Virginia.  The materials can be found at the OTP3 website.

These materials were prepared in cooperation with the Public Private Transportation Act Working Group.  This group was established in June 2012 to solicit ideas and feedback on how to improve public involvement in P3 development and procurement, and consists of elected officials as well as private and public sector stakeholders.            

ARTBA Announces Recipients of 2012 P3 Awards

On October 10 through 12, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) held their 24th Annual Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation Conference in Washington, DC.  Each year during this conference, the ARTBA P3 Division honors two individuals, one public sector and one private sector, for their exemplary contributions to the transportation industry. 

This year we are proud to announce that Nossaman's Geoff Yarema was named "P3 Private Sector Entrepreneur of the Year."  Geoff is the first two-time recipient of this award, having received the award in 2003.  Geoff was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of P3s within the transportation construction industry, particularly for his involvement in the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission and the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), a measure to reauthorize transportation funding through the end of 2014.

Also, Tony Kinn of Virginia’s Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OTP3) was named “P3 Public Sector Entrepreneur of the Year.”  Appointed as the director of OTP3 in 2011, Tony is in charge of one of the largest P3 transportation programs in the United States.  This year, he oversaw the financial closing of two major Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) P3 projects, including the Midtown Tunnel Project in April.  A Nossaman team, led by Simon Santiago, advised VDOT on the $2.1 billion Midtown Tunnel Project, which is comprised of a new two-lane tunnel adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel, the maintenance and safety improvements to the existing Midtown and Downtown Tunnels, and an extension of the MLK Freeway to Interstate 264.  Tony told the conference attendees that his goal is to have OTP3 and VDOT remain in the forefront of closing deals and we wish him continued success in this endeavor.   

In addition to the individual awards, each year ARTBA recognizes projects for the innovation that they brought to the process of public-private partnerships in the United States.  We would like to congratulate the California Department of Transportation and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority for the Presidio Parkway Project’s recognition as "P3 Project of the Year."  A Nossaman team, led by Barney Allison, advised Caltrans on the $1.1 billion deal, which will be the first transportation P3 in California under the recently enacted P3 statute, Streets and Highways Code section 143, and only the third highway project in the United States developed through an availability payment structure.  

Established in 1902, ARTBA is the oldest national transportation construction-related association.  Their primary goal is to aggressively grow and protect transportation infrastructure investment to meet the public and business demand for safe and efficient travel.
 

Virginia DOT Reaches Financial Close on Midtown Tunnel Project

The Virginia Department of Transportation and Elizabeth River Crossings Opco LLC (“ERC”) reached financial close on a toll concession public-private partnership ("PPP") for the $2.1 billion Midtown Tunnel Project.  It is the first United States transportation PPP to reach financial close in 2012 and will include construction of a new Midtown Tunnel, rehabilitating the existing Midtown and Downtown Tunnels, extending Martin Luther King Boulevard and will provide much needed transportation improvements and congestion relief to motorists in the Hampton Roads region.  Construction will begin in Fall 2012 and completion is expected in 2018.

Under the Public-Private Transportation Act, the Virginia DOT will continue ownership of the Project elements and oversee ERC's activities.  ERC will finance, build, operate and maintain the facilities for a 58-year concession period and also assumes risk of delivering the project on a performance-based, fixed-price, fixed-date contract, protecting users and taxpayers from construction cost overruns and delays. 

The Project will involve tolling of the existing and newly-constructed assets with tolls initially ranging from $1.59 to $1.84 per car for the tunnels and $.50 for the MLK Extension for tunnel users and $1 for non-tunnel users.  This is approximately 40 percent lower than the $2.89 toll rate estimated under the interim agreement signed in January 2010 before Governor Bob McDonnell took office.  Additional financing includes a $422 million TIFIA loan, $663.75 million of private activity bonds and $310 million in public contribution from Virginia DOT.  ERC, a joint venture of Macquarie and Skanska, will contribute up to $272 million in equity.

The Midtown Tunnel Project was a priority of the region’s leaders and is the largest transportation project to get under way in almost 30 years.  More than 500 jobs will support the construction efforts and another 1,000 jobs in other sectors of the local economy.  The Project is anticipated to cut round-trip travel time by 30 minutes a day and improve safety, reliability and connectivity to the region’s transportation network.

Click here to learn more about this Project.

USDOT Announces TIGER III Grantees

This morning, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Ray LaHood announced the winners of the extremely competitive TIGER III grant application cycle.  Forty-six projects in 33 states will share $511 million in grant funds.  The announcement was made several months earlier than the originally scheduled date.

As has been the case with the previous two rounds of TIGER grants, this cycle was wildly oversubscribed.  According to the announcement, USDOT received 848 project applications from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC, requesting a total of $14.29 billion, far exceeding the amount available under the TIGER III program. 

“The overwhelming demand for these grants clearly shows that communities across the country can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to put Americans to work building the transportation projects that are critical to our economic future,” said Secretary LaHood. “That’s why we’ve taken action to get these grants out the door quickly, and that is why we will continue to ask Congress to make the targeted investments we need to create jobs, repair our nation’s transportation systems, better serve the traveling public and our nation’s businesses, factories and farms, and make sure our economy continues to grow."

Of the grants awarded, only three included payments to support TIFIA loans.  The projects that will receive TIFIA payments are the SR-91 Corridor Improvement Project managed lanes being developed by the Riverside County Transportation Commission; Virginia DOT’s I-95 HOT Lanes; and Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Orange Line Extension.

TIGER grants are awarded to transportation projects that have significant national or regional impact.  USDOT allocated the TIGER III funds to transportation projects in both urban and rural areas.  The funding was distributed between a broad array of road and bridge, transit, port and freight rail projects.  The three rounds of TIGER grants have resulted in an award of over $2.6 billion for critical transportation funding.

VDOT's Midtown Tunnel Project Targets Financial Close By Year's End

During a July 20, 2011 presentation before the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the Virginia Department of Transportation reported that VDOT reached agreement on major business terms with Elizabeth River Crossings LLC for the design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the Midtown Tunnel Project in the Portsmouth and Norfolk area.  As a result of this major milestone, VDOT is targeting to reach financial close on the Midtown Tunnel Project by the end of 2011.  

The Midtown Tunnel Project will involve the construction of a new two-lane tunnel under the Elizabeth River, extension of the Martin Luther King Freeway, and certain improvements to the existing Midtown Tunnel and Downtown Tunnels.  The capital costs of the Midtown Tunnel Project is approximately $1.45 billion.  Construction is scheduled to start in 2012 and to be completed in 2017.

IBTTA Presents: Rebuilding America's Interstate Highway System

The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is hosting a free panel on "Rebuilding America's Interstate Highway System" on June 21 from 8-10:30am ET. The program, which will be held at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington, DC, will also be broadcast live over the Internet for those who cannot attend in person.
 
The event targets anyone interested in exploring real solutions to the challenge of funding improvements to interstate highways and other major road systems in America including congressional staff, transportation policy professionals and lobbyists, trade and general media.
 
The presenters include:
 
Moderator: Patrick Jones, Executive Director & CEO, IBTTA – International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association
 
Presentation: Edward Regan, Executive Vice President, Wilbur Smith Associates
 
EXPERT PANEL
 
Randy Brown, Acting Executive Director, Maryland Transportation Authority
 
George Campbell, Secretary, New Hampshire Department of Transportation
 
Mark Foster, Chief Financial Officer, North Carolina Department of Transportation
 
Frank McCartney, Executive Director, Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission; President, IBTTA – International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association
 
 
Gregory Whirley, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Transportation
 
 
Register here to attend the event in person (space is limited), or sign up to participate in the live webcast streamed directly through your computer.

I-395 HOT Lanes Project Stymied by Arlington Lawsuit

Arlington County is seeking to delay (or possibly derail) a project designed to ease congestion and add new lanes to Northern Virginia’s clogged 95/395 corridor.  Arlington has challenged the Categorical Exclusion (CE) granted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which allowed the project to move forward without a full environmental analysis.

Arlington is concerned that the new lanes will “increase congestion throughout the corridor, and lengthen travel times, especially for transit.”  Buses, carpools (HOV-3), motorcycles and emergency vehicles will have free access to HOT lanes.

Drivers with fewer than three occupants will be required to pay to access the lanes.  Fully electronic tolling on the HOT lanes will allow customers to pay tolls with E-ZPass - eliminating the need for toll booths.

Tolls will rise with congestion, following a strategy known as “congestion pricing” that has been embraced with great success in San Diego and Orange County.  As the price goes up more people exit the lanes, maintaining free flow of traffic.

Fluor-Transurban, Virginia’s private sector partner charged with building and managing the new lanes, is no stranger to set-backs. Fluor has been doggedly pursuing HOT Lanes in Virginia since 2002.

Northern Virginia’s congestion woes are a serious concern - only Los Angelinos lose more time in traffic each year, according to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2009 Urban Mobility Report. This lawsuit will likely focus pressure on the I-495 HOT Lanes project to prove the viability of the congestion pricing model for the Washington Metro Area.