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.
Pennsylvania– The Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission and Connected Nation completed a study that identifies Erie County as providing the lowest access to high-speed internet in the region. County executives are reviewing the report that shows access at 7.6 percent and recommends forming a team to oversee and implement actions.
To counter this low access rate, the Northwest Regional Commission also suggests developing a public-private partnership (P3) to make broadband more available. Exact plans for the project have not yet been released, but the county’s information technology director is meeting with internet providers to look at ways to increase local internet access.
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.
Arkansas- The U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation signed an offer to sell 3.5 acres of riverfront property to the city of Fort Smith. In 2015, realizing it needed more than 3.5 acres of land to build a museum, the board opted for a larger 16-acre tract of land further north on Riverfront Drive. Plans call for the U.S. Marshals Museum to start construction in time for a September 2019 opening. The southern boundary of the museum’s 16-acre site aligns with H Street at Riverfront Drive.
The city plans to turn the newly-acquired 3.5 acres of land into a bike skill and skate park. To build their new park, the city plans to pursue a public-private partnership (P3). Fort Smith’s bike skills and Skate Park is expected to cost around $600,000 in addition to the $200,000 the city spent purchasing the land. The final approval date and timeline for the park are not yet set.