Missouri DOT makes case for highway PPP

The state’s Department of Transportation is pushing for its maiden public-private partnership (PPP) to facilitate the expansion of Interstate 70 (pictured). Discussions remain in the preliminary stages, but if materialised the project could require financing of up to $4bn.

Shortly after Missouri’s legislative session begins in the early days of January 2012, state lawmakers are likely to be asked to consider allowing the pursuit of a public-private partnership (PPP) for the expansion of Interstate 70 (I-70) between the Midwestern cities of St. Louis and Kansas City.

Depending on the complexity of the project, the price tag for the expansion could fall anywhere between $1.4 billion and $4 billion, according to a spokesperson from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). 

Under consideration is the addition of basic highway lanes, at the low-end of the cost range, to also including dedicated truck lanes, which would cause the required investment to skyrocket. In either case, the undertaking would include both the construction of new roadway and rebuilding existing infrastructure in need of upgrades.

A formal bill has not yet been drafted but is on the legislative agenda and – if the plan comes to fruition – would represent MoDOT’s debut partnership with the private sector. The next legislative session begins in the first week of January 2012 and a bill could be drafted at any time.  

Previously, the state granted MoDOT permission to use a PPP for a separate project, a bridge construction over the Mississippi River. MoDOT decided to continue with that infrastructure project but abandoned a tolled structure, preferring instead to use its permission to pursue a PPP for an I-70 toll road. Other infrastructure projects might also be competing for the PPP structure, however.