Posts from 2009

Ahead of schedule, NTE Mobility Partners has announced that the Texas Department of Transportation’s North Tarrant Express Managed Lanes project has reached financial close. Under the PPP deal, NTE Mobility - a Cintra-led consortium - will build, finance, maintain and operate a 13-mile corridor in the congested Dallas-Fort Worth area. The $2.02 billion project includes funding from $400 million worth of private activity bonds (PABs), $650 million in TIFIA credits, $573 million in investment from TxDOT, and $427 million in equity from NTE Mobility. The project reached ...

Posted in Design-Build

The Utah Department of Transportation has announced its selection of the Provo River Constructors team to deliver the Utah County I-15 Corridor Expansion (I-15 CORE). Provo River Constructors is comprised of Flour Enterprises, Inc., Ames Construction, Inc., Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company, Inc. and Wadsworth Brothers Construction Company, Inc. The group will expand the I-15 freeway by two lanes in both directions from Lehi Main Street to Spanish Fork Main, extend the express lane from University Parkway in Orem to Spanish Fork, rebuild and reconfigure 10 freeway ...

USDOT has published new program guidance for the TIFIA Program which clarifies project selection criteria and processes. The new guidance is the product of long deliberation at USDOT, which withdrew an earlier proposal last spring. [See USDOT Withdraws Proposed Changes to the TIFIA Program.]

The notice:

  • Announces a change in TIFIA selection criteria and processes going forward – rather than the current first come, first served basis for project submission, the new process would pool all letters of interest and apply weighting criteria to choose the best projects.

  • Requests ...
Posted in P3s

The closing of the Port of Miami Tunnel Project deal was just short of miraculous, given the tight financial markets and the political ups and downs of the project procurement. Novel risk allocations helped ensure the success of the deal. The current issue of Public Works Finance includes an excerpted discussion of the risks and the way the Florida Department of Transportation chose to address them. The full text of Port of Miami Tunnel: Digging Through Novel Risks is available on Infra Insight.

The Obama Administration recently outlined its proposal for enhanced federal safety oversight of subways, light-rail and municipal bus systems. USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood said, Now, would we prefer that states regulate their own systems? You bet. But some states simply lack the resources to do that. And, in a pinch, some state will cut safety items from their budgets. For transit passengers those cuts are too dear.

The proposed Public Transportation Safety Program Act of 2009 would authorize the Secretary, through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), to set and enforce minimum federal transit safety standards and ensure that transit safety efforts grow in tandem with increased ridership.

USDOT is currently prohibited from establishing federal transit safety standards, and instead relies on 27 State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSAs) to monitor transit safety as provided in 49 CFR Part 659.   Following several transit incidents earlier this year, FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff announced the Administration’s intent to enhance federal oversight.  [See FTA Considering New Safety Oversight for Rail Transit.]  Funding, independence, and enforcement powers are critical concerns for SSAs, which average less than one staff person per transit agency and in some cases rely on transit revenues from the systems they oversee.

Under the proposed program, FTA would be authorized to promulgate minimum national standards for rail transit safety, applicable to all fixed rail systems not currently under Federal Railroad Administration jurisdiction. (The legislation would also authorize bus safety regulatory authority but DOT expects its initial focus to be on rail transit safety.)

States could choose to continue transit safety oversight on behalf of FTA, but only when FTA finds that the SSA has:

  •          an adequate number of fully-trained staff to enforce federal regulations;
  •          been granted sufficient authority by its governor and state legislature to compel compliance by the transit systems it oversees; and
  •          sufficient financial independence from any transit systems under its purview.

 

Posted in Design-Build

A recent court case upholds the concepts of innovative design and quality performance utilized by alternative delivery methods that have become necessary due to shrinking public agency budgets and the need to accelerate critical projects. The case concerned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) use of an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contract through a two phased proposal process for a $301 million construction project to build a series of military facilities to be performed under a series of future task orders.

An IDIQ Contract allows the procuring ...

Posted in Design-Build

A client recently asked our firm about delivery methodologies commonly used for mega-projects.  A recent ENR article highlights this trend towards use of alternative delivery methods, including design-build, contractor at risk and PPPs.

According to the article, the US Army Corps of Engineers is using design-build and construction management at risk (which the Army Corps calls Early Contractor Involvement (ECI)) on many projects to speed up delivery of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, including the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex ...

On October 8, 2009, FHWA issued electronic toll collection rules in response to a 2005 SAFTEA-LU law, which in all respects reiterate the status quo for the tolling industry and provide no guidance or standards with respect to SAFTEA-LU’s goal of progressing towards a nationwide interoperable electronic toll collection system.

With regard to interoperability, Section 950.7 of the rules require the tolling agency to identify: (i) the projected users of the facility; (ii) the predominant electronic toll collection systems likely utilized by users of the facility; and (iii) the ...

Posted in Legislation

Senators Boxer and Inhofe are preparing to hotline a six-month extension of the federal surface transportation programs, which would provide funding at gross FY2009 levels, with an additional $8.7 billion in contract authority to replace the funds rescinded on September 30.

The bill would also extend funding for projects of national and regional significance (SAFETEA-LU 1301) and national corridor infrastructure (SAFETEA-LU 1302) according to 2009 receipts. House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman Jim Oberstar’s 3-month extension, which recently passed in ...

The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) has released a Lessons Learned Report which gives a realistic and sober review of what’s gone well and what should be done differently to implement the FasTracks program. The FasTracks is the RTD’s voter-approved, multi-billion dollar program to build 122 miles of rail transit, including six new commuter rail and light rail lines and extensions of three existing lines, build 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, add 21,000 new parking spaces, redevelop Denver Union Station and redirect bus service to better connect the eight-county District.

The report reviews lessons learned in nine main areas that can be used throughout the completion of FasTracks itself – currently one of the most ambitious transit expansion efforts in the country – as well as for future programs.  Among those lessons are things that have worked well including:

Nossaman LLP’s 30-plus infrastructure attorneys offer clients, colleagues, strategic partners, and industry media a wealth of practical experience, insider insight, and thoughtful analysis here on Infra Insight. We blog about what we know best, from industry-leading procurements to local and national policy developments that affect the market and our clients.

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