Virginia appoints PPP head

Tony Kinn, a former director at Virginia’s Department of Economic Development, has been appointed to lead the state’s newly-opened Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships, which works with Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation to coordinate various PPPs across seven state agencies.

Virginia officials have appointed Tony Kinn, a director of corporate relations at the University of Virginia, to be the first director of the state’s newly-created Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OPT3), bringing to a close a months-long search that spanned both the public and private sectors.

Kinn is currently an assistant vice president and director of corporate relations at the University Engineering Foundation at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Foundation is responsible for fund-raising and alumni activities at the school, according to its website.

Kinn previously served as an executive vice president at the Federated Group. He has also served as a director of the international division of Virginia’s Department of Economic Development, where he was responsible for bringing investment from European and Pacific Rim countries, according to a statement.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton said in a statement that Kinn “has the background and expertise to further develop our programme and proactively identify, assess and deliver [Virginia’s] priority transportation projects”.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board in Virginia recently approved a six-year transportation plan that includes $1.4 billion for public-private partnerships (PPPs). PPPs supported by the new transportation plan could include the Skanska- and Macquarie-backed Midtown Tunnel project, and the Route 460 highway extension, which has received interest from Cintra, Skanska, and Kiewit.

The 1995 Public-Private Transportation Act governs the state's procurement process. The Virginia Department of Transportation (DOT) decided to create a new division for PPPs last year following a departmental audit by Republican Governor Robert McDonnell that revealed over $1 billion in unused funds.

The OPT3 focuses on coordinating the PPP efforts of the Secretary of Transportation as well all seven Virginia transportation agencies. The office officially opened in June, with DOT chief deputy commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick serving as interim programme director, and DOT deputy director Dusty Holcombe covering day-to-day operations and project management, according to a previous statement.