Texas chooses public route over PPP for $1.4bn road

Texas has opted to go with a design-build structure instead of a public-private partnership (PPP) for the 37-mile Grand Parkway expansion. The decision will not impact a string of 10 other transportation projects that qualify as PPPs.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has decided to pursue a design-build structure for the $1.4 billion Grand Parkway Project – also known as State Highway 99 – in the city of Houston.

“Based on the current financial environment for major projects like the Grand Parkway as well as the strength of the traffic and revenue studies conducted for this project, TxDOT has decided to move forward using the design-build method,” the agency said in a statement.

A public-private partnership (PPP) was the other procurement possibility, as the highway expansion is included among nearly a dozen roadway projects that are eligible for this type of structure in the state. According to a TxDOT spokesperson, the agency will continue to examine the PPP structure for another 10 green-lighted projects. 

TxDOT already has submissions to comb through for a contract recipient based on a Request for Qualifications that was issued in November 2011. At the time, bidders were responding to the possibility of either a PPP or a design build-project for the Grand Parkway. From those responses, TxDOT will invite bidders to compete in March. A contract is expected to be secured by the end of 2012 and the highway expansion should begin in the first quarter of 2013.

The design-build process was approved for the leg of the project that involves developing 37 miles of a new toll road across Harris and Montgomery counties.