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Pennsylvania

PennDOT puts out call for public-private partnership proposals

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, 11:42 p.m.

If a local business has an idea for a public-private partnership, PennDOT officials want to hear about it.

The department put out a call last week for unsolicited proposals for public-private partnerships, or P3s, for transportation and infrastructure projects.

“We pride ourselves on our innovative approaches to transportation solutions,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “By accepting unsolicited P3 proposals, we are encouraging others to propose innovative or partnership projects that they think will benefit the commonwealth and Pennsylvanians.”

PennDOT officials said they hope to piggyback on the success they’ve seen with the Rapid Bridge Replacement Program P3, the first of its scale in the nation.

“We were able to replace roughly 558 bridges in poor condition in a matter of several years instead of the normal eight to 12 (years) for that number of bridges,” Penn DOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said.

The program is ongoing and is slated to be completed by the end of this year.

“Under the P3 law, we continue to look for other opportunities through the unsolicited period we just announced,” Kirkpatrick said.

In June, PennDOT officials touted the opening of the first compressed natural gas station in Altoona, built through a P3, one of 29 planned as part of a partnership between PennDOT, Trillium CNG and Amtran-Altoona.

“We also have a (CNG) station open in Westmoreland County,” Kirkpatrick said.

The private sector also may submit applications for non-PennDOT-owned assets directly to the P3 board during the acceptance period, which runs through Dec. 31.

Transportation entities outside of the governor’s jurisdiction, such as transit authorities, may establish their own time lines or accept proposals year-round.

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 would be more cost-effectively administered by a private company, the company will be authorized to submit a proposal and enter into a contract to either completely or partially take over that operation for a defined period of time.

Instructions on how to submit a project and information on the unsolicited proposal review process can be found on the state’s P3 website, www.P3forPA.com .

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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