Georgia to pursue only solicited PPPs

The state’s department of transportation said it will no longer advance the six unsolicited project proposals it received under its earlier PPP statutes. A new PPP bill signed into law in May mandated that all future PPPs be solicited by the department.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it will only procure public-private partnerships (PPPs) for transportation projects that are solicited by the department, reversing course on six unsolicited proposals that have previously been received by the department.

Georgia Department of Transportation commissioner Vance Smith said in a statement that “a solicited PPP program allows us to maximise private sector competition” and “deliver the absolute best value to the department”.

As a result, the department has terminated a development services agreement with a group of construction and engineering firms, including Bechtel, which made an unsolicited proposal for the state’s Northwest Corridor improvement project.

Five other unsolicited proposals will also no longer be considered, the department said.

The decision to not seek unsolicited proposals came after Senate Bill 200, a new PPP law that was signed in May, mandated that all future PPPs be solicited by the department.

The bill also authorised the department to develop rules to assist in the evaluation of PPP proposals and the implementation of the programme. A PPP workshop was held on 4 November with the state transportation board to open the rule-making process. A 30-day public comment period has now begun on the rules, said Teri Pope, communications director for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s District One.

The department hopes to initiate solicitation for its first PPP programme under the new law in spring or summer 2010. There is already a list of four initial priority projects that will be considered for solicitation, including the Northwest Corridor.

The state had previously passed two other PPP laws – one in 2003 and another in 2005 – which allowed unsolicited proposals. Six projects were considered under those statutes, but nothing ever came to fruition.

“It’s been an ever-changing law with ever-changing projects,” Pope said.