Virginia provides $1.4bn for PPPs

As part of a six-year transportation plan, Virginia has allocated funds to PPPs including the Route 460 highway improvement project and the Midtown Tunnel. Virginia also opened a new PPP office earlier this month.

Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board has adopted a new transportation programme that includes $1.4 billion for public-private partnerships (PPPs) over the next six years.

Republican Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell said in a statement that the PPP funds would support projects including the Midtown Tunnel, a Skanska- and Macquarie-backed project to build a new, two-lane tunnel near Norfolk, and the Route 460 highway extension, which has received interest from Cintra, Skanska, and Kiewit, among others.

The PPP funds could also “leverage” an additional $4 billion in private capital for infrastructure development, according to the statement. 

Earlier this year, McDonnell introduced a three-year transportation agenda that he said could create up to $6 billion worth of PPPs. His plan included a proposal for a transportation bank funded in part through the privatisation of the state’s Alcohol Beverage Council.

The six-year programme adopted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board provides $283 million for the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, but those funds were not provided through privatisation of the Alcohol Beverage Council, according to a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation (DOT).

The funds designated for PPPs are part of a Six-Year Improvement Programme that includes $8.3 billion for the Virginia DOT and $2.3 billion for the Department of Rail and Public Transportation for fiscal years 2012 through 2017.

Earlier this month, the Virginia DOT announced the official opening of its Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships.  DOT chief deputy commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick will serve as interim programme director for the office, while DOT deputy director Dusty Holcombe is responsible for day-to-day operations and project management, according to a statement.

Virginia is not new to PPPs – its procurement process is governed by the 1995 Public-Private Transportation Act – but the new office will be responsible for  implementing a statewide programme across all six Virginia transportation agencies. The DOT decided to create a new division for PPPs last year following a departmental audit by McDonnell that revealed over $1 billion in unused funds.

The Virginia DOT is still looking for a permanent director for the new office, according to a DOT spokesperson.  Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton previously said the office’s future director could come from either public or the private sectors.