PennDOT issues RFQ for wireless telecoms P3

Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation is seeking a private sector partner to support its Wireless Telecommunications Partnership Programme.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking input from the private sector for the design and implementation of a programme that will use the agency’s or state property to build wireless telecommunications infrastructure, the state’s Office of Public Private Partnerships (P3 Office) said in a statement.

Firms interested in participating in the procurement process – PennDOT expects to procure the project as a P3 – have until June 27 to submit Statements of Qualifications (SOQs).

The preferred bidder, which would be selected after a Request for Proposals (RFP) is launched, would be responsible for, among other things, identifying PennDOT property that may be of value to wireless companies; marketing Commonwealth properties as potential wireless antenna sites; negotiating and administering lease agreements; and designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining the towers or other antenna platforms.

According to the Request for Qualifications (RFQs) released earlier this week, the preferred bidder will pay PennDOT a percentage of the revenue generated from contracts with leaseholders, licensees or permittees.

Revenue generated for PennDOT from this project will be used to fund capital projects that will enhance the agency’s ability to provide a safe intermodal transportation system that attracts businesses and residents and stimulates the Pennsylvania economy, PennDOT states in the RFQ.

A shortlist of bidders is expected in August, while a preferred bidder is expected to be announced in the autumn of 2014.

This is the fourth project Pennsylvania is considering procuring as a P3 since the beginning of the year. In February it issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the Amtrak Keystone line to explore the possibility of redeveloping 11 train stations along the route that links Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to New York City.

In March, the Port of Pittsburgh Commission issued an RFI for the further development of its Wireless Waterway service which aims to advance communications within the country’s inland river system; while in April PennDOT began exploring the possibility of procuring and delivering a new vehicle services centre and transit operation and maintenance facility as a P3.

The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, which aims to replace or upgrade at least 500 of the state’s 4,500 structurally-deficient bridges, is further along the procurement process with four teams out of five being shortlisted in March to proceed to the RFP stage. The RFQ for this project was launched in December 2013.