Washington, D.C.– Army for Civil Works Assistant Secretary R.D. James has directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering (USACE) Civil Works to establish a public-private partnership (P3) pilot program. The goal of the pilot program is to demonstrate the viability of new delivery methods that can significantly reduce the cost and time of project delivery. The program is part of the Revolutionize USACE Civil Works initiative which is transforming how USACE delivers infrastructure for the nation through authorized Civil Works projects and permitting of infrastructure projects.
USACE Civil Works is to identify up to 10 P3 pilot projects based on specific screening and selection criteria. The pilots will inform future program policy and direction. Information must be submitted on or before April 2, to be eligible for consideration. USACE has scheduled two webinars to answer questions about the pilot program. The webinars are Feb. 7, from 2-3:30 p.m. and Feb. 13, from 1-2:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.
Hawaii- Cost-cutting continues to help make the completion of the Honolulu Rail Project a reality. After years of delays and cost over-runs, the troubled 20-mile light-rail line has a new plan in place. According to a new draft recovery plan, an array of cost-cutting measures will be put in place to help avoid another funding shortfall. Measures include: eliminating lighting in-between stations along the rail line, deferring construction of the $315 million Pearl Highlands Center, modifying sound barriers and re-designing overhead canopies. This coupled with a $188 million increase in tax revenues might be just enough to get the project across the finish line by the new target date of 2026.
The project stands as the largest public works project in state history. At its inception in 2012, the 20-mile span was originally billed at $5.26 billion with a 2020 completion date. The project is now forecasted to total nearly $9 billion and be completed by 2026. The city violated its agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) when construction and cost overruns lead to delays. This in turn has caused the FTA to freeze $744 million of the total project funds until the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit comes up with a recovery plan. The city hopes to partner with a private developer and acquire alternative funding to unfreeze federal funds and finish the remaining 4.1 miles of the rail line. A new contractor for this public-private partnership (P3) is set to be selected in September.
Georgia– The University System of Georgia has released a request for qualified concessionaires (RFQC) to measure the interest level in expanding a student housing privatization initiative that was launched three years ago. Responses for the RFQC are due by June 1 to see if the program could be implemented at seven additional campuses across the state. System officials expect to pre-qualify up to four concessionaires to take part in a detailed request for proposals (RFP) process.
The system is looking for a developer to design, build, finance, operate and maintain housing with more than 12,000 beds at five institutions, of which nearly 1,400 would be new beds or beds in renovated facilities. In addition, the concessionaire would operate and maintain nearly 3,300 existing beds at three institutions. Schools selected for the expansion include Albany State University, Savannah State University, the University of West Georgia in Carrollton and Valdosta State University.
Louisiana– The Louisiana Department of Transportation (LADOTD) is considering its very first public-private partnership. The partnership would finance a $122 million Belle Chasse Tunnel and Bridge. The tunnel and bridge are the primary access points for western Plaquemines Parish residents and businesses as well as the Naval air station. Currently, the tunnel carries traffic in one direction across the Intracoastal Waterway, and the bridge carries traffic in the other direction.
Both structures need repair as the tunnel is frequently closed due to leaks and the bridge requires frequent maintenance. The proposed project would replace the tunnel and bridge with a new mid-level, fixed-span bridge, which would carry traffic in both directions and reduce or eliminate the delays associated with operations and maintenance of the older infrastructure. In February LADOTD issued a notice of intent seeking letters of interest from interested private companies and investors. The letters of interest are due by April 4.