Keystone State set to open to private solicitation

In May, Pennsylvania will accept proposals from the private sector for transportation P3s.

A week from now, the state of Pennsylvania will accommodate any unsolicited proposal for a public-private partnership (PPP or P3) related to transportation infrastructure.

The newly created public-private transportation board has set aside the month of May—as well as October—as a window for the industry to submit unsolicited proposals.

The ‘Keystone State’ passed enabling P3 legislation in 2012, establishing a seven member P3 board. A how-to manual for P3 procurement and implementation in Pennsylvania was published in January. Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr authored the manual.    

A P3 office established within the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will evaluate each proposal aimed toward jointly developing a ‘transportation facility project’ with the private sector.

Under the P3 law, named ‘The Public and Private Partnership for Transportation Act,’ a transportation facility is defined as a road, bridge, parking area, building seaport or airport and can encompass a ‘brownfield’ or ‘greenfield’ project.  

The P3 law as well as the publication of the guidebook came after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett created the P3 board to explore pursing public-private infrastructure.

Corbett, a Republican and former attorney general of Pennsylvania, assumed office in 2011. His predecessor, Ed Rendell, tried to privatise the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 2007, but a proposed $12.8 billion offer for a 75-year toll road concession was shot down in the state legislature.

Meanwhile, bankrupt state capital Harrisburg has sought to privatise parking as well as lease its waste incinerator.

The state has characterised its transportation infrastructure as in dire need of investment, with Corbett stressing the cost of repair could top $7 billion by 2020.