Arizona invites SOQs for road P3

The Arizona Department of Transportation is using a P3 approach for the South Mountain Freeway project, but has ruled out a financed option.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has invited Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from companies that are interested in the South Mountain Freeway project, according to a statement.

The South Mountain Freeway, which consists of a section of Loop 202 within the Maricopa County regional freeway and highway system, will be procured as a single project using a public-private partnership (PPP; P3) approach, although the design-build-maintain delivery mechanism will include a long-term maintenance component and will not include a private finance option, it said.

Entities are expected to submit proposals to design, construct and maintain the freeway through a Design-Build-Maintain (DBM) contract, ADOT said in the statement.

After assessing the finalists based on their SOQs, the transportation department will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for design-build-maintain services, according to the statement.

The design-build-maintain approach is expected to reduce the cost, expedite the completion of, and assure the quality of the project, it said.

“This decision was made after more than a year's worth of analysis following the submission of an unsolicited proposal,” ADOT said in the statement.

The submission explored several ways of delivering the project in the event that the federal environmental impact process recommends an alternative. A traditional design-bid-build approach, several design-build options, and public-private partnership (P3) alternatives including those with maintenance options, private finance options, or both, are considered in the analysis, it added.

ADOT has a remaining program budget of $1.8 billion for the remaining right-of-way acquisition, design, and construction of the project. Project costs will be funded through a combination of Regional Area Road Fund (RARF) revenues, Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) revenues, and federal funds dedicated to the Maricopa County region and ADOT.

“To facilitate acceleration of the Project, ADOT will also utilise some combination of financing mechanisms, including but not limited to its RARF credit, HURF credit, and Grant Anticipation Notes which leverage future federal funds,” it said.

The transportation department also said it expects maintenance for the project to be funded in the same manner as its current maintenance programme, through a combination of federal funds and legislative appropriations of HURF revenues.