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Last week, potential solutions to the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure — and in some cases, objections to them — seemed to be on many political leaders’ minds. Although this topic didn’t figure in the three presidential debates, they certainly are on every governor’s agenda and economic strategies for tackling this challenge are starting to be floated by contenders for the nation’s top post. And, for at least one candidate, yes, P3s are in the mix. …
With a little help from our friends … Joliet, Ill., believes it has found a way to cover any cost overruns it would have to pay on road work the state will conduct as part of a P3 bridge construction project. If the state exceeds its $21 million budget for rebuilding an interchange and widening a road that leads to the bridge that will be built over the Des Plaines River, Joliet expects bridge builder CenterPoint Properties to fork over enough in toll payments to cover the cost overruns.
U.S. DOT is hiring. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau is inviting candidates to apply for its transportation specialist (project development lead) position. The position supports the bureau’s Office of Outreach and Project Development by identifying, developing and financing transportation infrastructure projects and developing strategies to advance them. Information and applications are available on the usajobs.gov website.
Deadlines extended for responses to two Canadian transport RFQs. Developers have through Oct. 31 to submit qualification statements for the Cooksville GO rail station project and through Nov. 4 to submit statements for the Highway 401 rail tunnel project.
In November, the political rubber meets the road. The results of state elections in November could determine whether and how key transportation projects get funded, according to Governing magazine. In Minnesota, for example, Democrats want to raise the state’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees to pay for road projects but Republicans would rather tap the state’s existing surplus revenue instead. Meanwhile, in Colorado, Democrats blocked the state GOP’s $3.5 billion bond proposal to fund 42 road projects, saying the measure would favor highway projects over other state obligations. “The chances of big transportation packages passing should go up next year regardless of who wins, because it won’t be a major election year. Lawmakers tend to pass more ambitious legislation in nonelection years, and that’s especially true for transportation measures that require tax increases,” the article says.
Trump signals he’s pro-P3. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said during an address in Gettysburg, Pa. , on Oct. 22 that, if elected, he would work with Congress to introduce the American Energy & Infrastructure Act, which “[l]everages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years.” He called the measure “revenue neutral.” “Trump would press Congress to authorize $137 billion in tax credits for construction companies that seek to build new toll roads, toll bridges or other infrastructure projects that generate revenue streams,” reported the Washington Post. “The advisers behind this plan, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro calculate that the tax credits would leverage $167 billion in investment by the companies that receive them, who would in turn borrow money on the private market to finance up to $1 trillion in total spending. … Ross and Navarro calculate the added tax revenue would be enough to pay for the total cost of the tax credits, which means the overall cost to the government would be … nothing. They contrast that to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s infrastructure plan, which is funded in part by business tax increases.”
Make more money for the meter in MS. Jackson, Miss., would receive hundreds of thousands of dollars per year if it expands its parking meter program through a P3. Hudson and Associates would replace the city’s meters for $1.4 million and pay the city $250,000 per year or a percentage of the parking meter payments it receives — whichever is higher — over the 10-year agreement, which calls for meter rates to double from 50 cents to $1.00.
Tolls to take less of a toll on some VA residents. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has promised to subsidize the tolls low-income Norfolk and Portsmouth residents pay to travel through the Elizabeth River Tunnels in the South Hampton Roads region. Under the 10-year “Toll Relief” program, residents who make up to $30,000 per year, travel through the tunnels at least eight times a month and have a Virginia E-Z Pass transponder and registered account will receive a 75-cent per trip refund. The tunnels’ operator, Elizabeth River Crossings, has agreed to pay $500,000 a year to cover the refunds beginning March 1, 2017.
The following is a letter from NCPPP President Sandra Sullivan
Dear NCPPP Colleagues and Friends:
I’m writing to let you know that I recently made the decision to retire from Veolia on Dec. 31, 2016. As a result, I will also be stepping down as president of NCPPP at the end of the year. The Nominating Committee will select a member to fill the remainder of my term, which expires at the end of December 2017.
I’m excited about the opportunity to take full advantage of some leisure time and to also enjoy the company of my family and friends. I’m a bit apprehensive about this life change but I know if I work hard at it, leisure will surely come easy!
Myretirement has given me the opportunity to reflect on the success we have achieved at NCPPP, which has been made possible by working together to educate and advocate on the benefits of public private partnerships. Each of you brings a unique perspective on the benefits of P3s and our ability to collectively tell our stories has paved the way for new partnerships.
I have gained a wealth of knowledge from all of you and it has been my privilege to serve as your president this past year. I am enthusiastic about the future of the P3 market in the United States and about the important educational and promotional role NCPPP plays in supporting them.
I extend my warmest wishes to everyone for the future.
Sometimes those who teach also can do. The University of Central Florida (UCF) Board of Trustees has approved a proposal with the HCA health care company to build a teaching hospital adjacent to the university’s medical college. HCA will pay for and manage the building. The university will provide the land, academic expertise and the UCF brand.
As one justice project makes headway … The Maryland Stadium Authority signed an MOU on Oct. 19 to act on the Baltimore Circuit Court’s behalf in finding a developer through an RFI/RFP process to build a new courthouse complex or relocate the existing one to a new or renovated building. The court hopes to spend less through a P3 procurement than the $600 million a 2011 study indicates it would cost for a traditional procurement involving the renovation of the court’s historic downtown buildings and construction of a new courthouse nearby. … Another one, not so much. The General Services Administration (GSA) has put the brakes on choosing a location for the new FBI HQ until 2017. GSA, which had originally planned to choose between Landover or Greenbelt, Md., or Springfield, Va., would host the new building, said there has been strong developer interest in the project, which, however, needs federal funding to move forward. President Obama included $1.4 billion for the building in his 2017 budget request but Congress has not yet passed a budget, relying instead on a continuing resolution to continue funding government operations. The new FBI complex would be negotiated as a swap-construct agreement under which the J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington, D.C., would be traded for the new building.
Got juice? Developers are being sought to enter into a P3 with the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Transportation Alliance to set up electric vehicle charging stations in the Tri-Cities/Walla Walla area and others in southeastern Washington state. Responses to an RFI issued by the Benton Public Utility District are due Nov. 4.
Solar schools. Albemarle County Public Schools and solar development company Secure Futures LLC, co-hosted a dedication ceremony at Monticello High School in Charlottesville for the largest solar photovoltaic array to be installed within a Virginia public school system. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement, the 1-megawatt, 3,000-panel photovoltaic system will meet 22 percent of the energy needs of the six schools on which the panels will be installed and is expected to save the school system $80,000 over the life of the agreement.
NCPP Member Spotlight
Editor’s Note: Several times each month, P3 Digest will publish a brief profile of an NCPPP member to showcase the organization’s mission, experience and how it participates in and contributes to U.S. P3 projects. Any member that would like to be profiled should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dressman Benzinger LaVelle PSC — DBL Law, Patrick Hughes, Partner
Describe your company’s work in P3s: Our attorneys have extensive experience in interactions with government agencies at all levels — locally, statewide and nationally. Our experience and relationships in the industry not only gives us a unique understanding between P3 developers and their clients, but also allows us to function as a facilitator during all aspects of the project phases — design-build, maintenance and/or operation, and lending. That, combined with our diverse practice areas, allows us to offer an exclusive perspective to our clients to include procurement, contract negotiations and drafting, property acquisition, regulatory matters, financing and general legal counsel.
Our firm has worked on P3 projects to include a statewide Kentucky fiber network, university advancement functions, as well as public infrastructure projects comprising of parking structures and utilities. We have examined the feasibility of myriad P3 proposals and have longstanding relationships with both the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Kenton County Airport Board Authority on behalf of our clients.
What is the most interesting P3 project you completed in the last year? Recently, we represented Macquarie Capital and First Solutions P3, Inc. in connection with a $232 million public-private partnership fiber project to bring high-speed internet to all 120 counties of Kentucky. The offering, which was recognized as the 2015 Bond Buyer Deal of the Year, forged new territory in the P3 market with a first-of-its-kind approach to broadband connectivity on a statewide basis, and was the first nontransportation P3 to use a tax-exempt governmental purpose bond structure that achieved full risk transfer.
What is the most interesting P3 project on which you’re working today? A regional university recently turned to our firm to determine the feasibility of a P3 to deliver major projects and provide advancement functions on their campus with limited capital available.
Why did you join NCPPP? I joined NCPPP: 1. to have access to resources which will increase my knowledge of P3 industry developments and allow me to better serve my clients; 2. to network with other industry professionals and develop relationships to strengthen DBL Law’s participation in the market; and 3. to market DBL Law to potential partners and clients.
WHAT’S GOING ON AT NCPPP?
Here’s a quick peek at the upcoming NCPPP calendar.
- Great Lakes Infrastructure Exchange— Nov. 15 — Toronto
- P3Bootcamp— Nov. 16-17 — Jackson, MS
- DOD/Federal Energy & Water Forum— Dec. 2 — Washington, DC
- P3Bootcamp — Dec. 13-14 — Chicago
- Emerging Markets Forum — TBA — Miami
- P3Bootcamp — TBA — Miami
For more information about event programs, registration and sponsorship, please visit NCPPP’s website.
The next issue of P3 Digest will hit your mailbox Monday, Nov. 7