Ohio– The city of Columbus will be testing self-driving shuttle buses this year and to get those autonomous wheels turning, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has released a request for proposals that will be due Aug. 13. Vehicle testing is to start in October, with service to begin in December and continue into 2019. Each shuttle will hold roughly 12 passengers and an operator will be on-board to take over the shuttle if necessary.
This is a collaborative project between Smart Columbus, ODOT’s DriveOhio, the state agency devoted to autonomous-vehicle research and Ohio State University. The test is a result of Columbus winning the Smart City Challenge in 2016 and receiving $40 million grant from the United States Department of Transportation and a $10 million grant from Paul G. Allen Philanthropies.
The downtown shuttle service will be the first of a three-phase program that will include future testing in other locations of the city. According to the proposal, the fleet operations will be similar to a traditional transit service, with predetermined routes and stops. The first automated-vehicle pilot of the series aims to provide a shuttle service to help circulate people within a developing area adjacent to downtown Columbus. The test is meant to evaluate self-driving vehicles and to develop guidelines for self-driving technology that could be used by cities throughout the country.
Colorado– Denver has a $1 billion plan for the National Western Center campus. The only issue is, funding subsequent phases of the project. City leaders are considering a series of public-private partnerships (P3) for those projects. Part of the plan includes creating an office dedicated to vetting and overseeing such projects. Projects deemed large enough to warrant P3 treatment would go through five stages: planning, screening, structuring, procurement and implementation. The office would include an executive director, an attorney and a financial specialist.
The city budgeted $2.5 million for the creation of a P3 office but it requires council approval. The city’s portion of the campus project amounts to $765 million but the remaining balance is unfunded. Later phases that need funding call for a 10,000-seat arena, a large exposition hall, the redevelopment of the Denver Coliseum and the retrofitting of the century-old Stadium Arena to turn it into a market.
California– The former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, Parker Center, will soon be developed into a new Civic Center Building. The total cost of the project is now slated at $708 million. The city’s Municipal Facilities Committee has recommended that the city pursue a public-private partnership (P3) to oversee construction, financing and maintenance of the new building. Plans call for erecting a 27- to 29-story tower offering 753,740 square feet of office space and underground parking for 1,100 vehicles.
The cost of construction, maintenance and operation of the proposed building is projected to range from $915 million to $943 million over three decades, at which point the building would shift to city control. The new building is the first phase of Los Angeles’ Civic Center Master Plan, approved by the city council in March. The plan calls for six phases of development to bring 1.2 million square feet of additional office space, along with residential options and retail hubs to the area. The approved proposal calls for demolition of the existing structure by December 2019, and an estimated completion of the new construction by 2023.
Maryland-The Prince George’s County Council has adopted a council resolution, CR-33-2018, establishing a Public-Private Partnership (P3) Alternative Financing School Infrastructure Work Group to explore a P3 concept for school construction and replacement projects in the county. The 2018 Maryland General Assembly also enacted Senate Bill 92 this session, establishing an incentive pilot program to encourage local school systems in three counties, including Prince George’s, to pursue innovative, public school construction projects. The P3 Work Group will identify projects and solicit private-sector support by working with the school system and county executive to hire a consultant to create the structure to launch a P3. It is anticipated that five to seven projects may be initially identified.
Under the legislation, the P3 Work Group will provide quarterly status reports summarizing the status of implementation, key initiatives or studies planned and an estimated timetable for delivery of recommendations for program implementation. The first quarterly report will be due on Oct. 1, 2018. The Prince George’s County Council also approved a record $4.09 billion in spending for fiscal year 2019, an increase of $215 million, or 5.5 percent over the current budget. If the budget is approved by county executive Rushern Baker III, the spending plan will take effect on July 1.