Washington, DC’s plan to replace more than 75,000 city streetlights with energy-efficient LED bulbs has drawn interest from the private sector, with the district receiving 11 bids in response to a request for qualifications.
The city’s Office of Public-Private Partnerships (OP3), established in 2014 to increase PPP procurement, released the RFQ in June, saying at the time it would explore a variety of procurement options to transfer risk to the private sector. The project will include the installation, operation and maintenance of a remote control and monitoring system, with additional opportunities to incorporate the provision of WiFi, enhanced cellular service and information kiosks.
The identities of the bidders have not yet been made public, an OP3 spokesman told Infrastructure Investor. The district will now evaluate the statements of qualification and compose a shortlist of teams to participate in a request for proposals. While the timeframe for the release of the RFP is uncertain, the city expects the project to reach financial close in late 2018.
The streetlight modernisation is the most advanced of three projects currently in OP3’s project pipeline. Other projects include improvements to the Daly Building, which houses the city’s police department, and the construction of a new corrections centre.
Washington is not the first US city to look to the private sector to improve its streetlighting. In 2015, Michigan’s Department of Transportation picked Star America Infrastructure Partners to upgrade approximately 15,000 highway lights in the Detroit metropolitan area. This summer, Chicago reached an agreement with Massachusetts-based Ameresco to modernise 250,000 streetlights in the city. Both Star America and Ameresco were among the firms attending an industry forum on the DC project in January.