New Virginia Governor may scrap Route 460 deal

Terry McAuliffe may put a stop the P3 unless a federal government green light is forthcoming. 

The next chief executive of Virginia may halt a public-private partnership (PPP; P3) to toll and reconstruct US Route 460 unless federal government approval for the road project is secured.

Terry McAuliffe will assume office as the Governor of ‘Old Dominion’ next month replacing Bob McDonnell, who championed the deal as well as presiding over the 2011 creation of the Virginia Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OTP3).

The Governor of Virginia has a four-year, one-term limit. McDonnell, elected in 2010, is nearing the end of his term.

Democrat McAuliffe, a businessman who co-chaired the 1996 re-election of US President Bill Clinton, has said he will “take a hard look” at the ‘US Route 460 Corridor Improvements Project’.

McAuliffe has added that he would be unwilling to green-light the project until the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has signed off. USACE authorisation is needed because the P3 would result in wetland loss.

Brian Coy, a press officer for McAuliffe in Richmond, Virginia, told Infrastructure Investor the Governor-elect wanted to protect “taxpayer money”.

To date, Virginia has spent $200 million on the $1.4 billion Corridor P3. The project is a 55-mile design, build and finance (DBF) concession led by toll road operator Cintra, which reached commercial and financial close in December 2012.