California– San Francisco is moving ahead with plans for a public-private partnership (P3) to build a city-wide fiber network that will encompass the almost 47-square miles of the city. The city has issued a request for information (RFI) for the project and also plans to select five proposals by April 30. The city will then issue a follow-up request by the end of the year for three proposals to enter into the design phase. Early estimates put the cost of the project around $1.9 billion.
The network would be owned by the city but built and managed as a P3 – an arrangement that allows the city to alleviate some of the costs and risks of creating a brand-new utility. The city would maintain significant control over the price consumers would pay if they sign up for the service. The new network is expected to include subsidized rates to close the digital divide for low income residents. Currently about 100,000 residents of the city don’t have internet in their home.
Illinois-The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is pushing for congestion pricing to ease Chicago’s traffic troubles. Highway gridlock is costing the city $7.3 billion a year in lost productivity and fuel. IDOT is considering an express lane on the Stevenson Expressway that would allow drivers to bypass traffic by paying a toll on an adjustable scale based on current demand and overall distance traveled.
The expressway would be a public-private partnership in which a developer would build, operate and maintain the lanes in exchange for tolls. While congestion pricing is a key part of Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s “Go to 2040” long-term planning strategy, the system could debut in a pilot capacity relatively soon. IDOT is hoping to study the concept by implementing a managed lane on Interstate 55 by as early as 2019.
Texas– The Capitol Complex Master Plan in Austin is taking place in three phases and will consolidate several state agencies within the 50-block Capitol Complex area. The state’s Partnership Advisory Commission recently signed off on the public-private partnership (P3) policy for the plan. The first phase is estimated to cost $581 million and will add about 1 million square feet of office space, a five-level underground parking garage and a grassy open-air mall on Congress Avenue between the north steps of the Texas Capitol and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The Texas Facilities Commission has outlined two new office buildings in the project: a 14-story office tower with 600,000 square feet of office space and a 12-story, 400,000-square-foot building. Joint projects with private companies or a public entity will be vetted early through the city and state channels based on a value-for-money proposition. A developer would have to deliver a project that can be done better or more economically than the state. Revisions to the preliminary P3 policy are published on the Texas Facilities Commission website.
New Hampshire– Portions of the New Hampshire Turnpike system may soon be privatized. The state’s public-private partnership (P3) Infrastructure Oversight Committee have considered P3 plan for long-term concession agreements. The three highways chosen for the turnpike project were opened in the 1950s. The project includes developing and operating service plazas and rest areas with dining, fuel and retail concessions along the highways.
The P3 will allow for the sharing of resources to finance, design, build, operate and maintain transportation infrastructure projects. The plan was developed after Gov. Chris Sununu shared a proposal by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to raise tolls on the turnpikes to accelerate completion of improvements to the roads.