DOTD Announces Significant Interest In Public Private Partnership By Transportation Industry
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) received significant interest in what will be the state’s first transportation public private partnership (P3). Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., reported that the department has received 20 letters of interest as of the April 4 deadline identified for the Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel Replacement. DOTD published the notice of intent in February. Details regarding the Public Private Partnership, including the letters of interest, can be viewed on DOTD’s website: https://bit.ly/2q7Kzcc.
Any public inquiries or concerns should be sent to ABTR-BelleChase@la.gov.
The Public Private Partnership arrangement is intended to close the funding gap for the Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel Replacement in Plaquemine Parish. This route serves as the primary access point to the residents, businesses, and industries of Plaquemines Parish. The anticipated new structure will benefit the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station while providing more efficient commute times in daily activities and in hurricane evacuations for motorists.
The project is anticipated to have federal funding participation in the form of a $50 million INFRA GRANT application. The project and the federal funding request received letters of support from Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation both the Senate and House Transportation Committee Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, as well as both Senate President John Alario and Speaker of the House Taylor F. Barras. In addition to state and federal funds, up to 10 percent of the P3 project is eligible for federal Grant Application Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Bonds (GARVEE Bonds).
“In an effort to continue Governor Edwards’ commitment to put Louisiana first and improve our transportation system, DOTD is looking to employ innovative means such as this to deliver much needed projects,” Wilson said. “We can no longer wait while our infrastructure continues to deteriorate. GARVEE Bonds, a tool used by 30 other states, will be a temporary relief to our funding shortage.”
One project will improve the Loyola Drive interchange access from I-10 to the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport which is currently scheduled to open in February 2019. The other project will provide direct access from the I-20/I-220 interchange into Barksdale Air Force Base, a globally significant military installation. The estimates for the projects range from $80 to $125 million each. The Notices of Intent were published March 27 and the Letters of Interest are due April, 18. Details of the NOI(s) can be viewed on DOTD’s https://bit.ly/2JjTkIO.
With the support of the Edwards administration and the Joint Transportation Committee, DOTD received approval to utilize the design-build as the contracting method to deliver two major projects that will also be funded with GARVEE Bonds. The final approval for GARVEE Bonds lies with the State Bond Commission. The Request for Qualification for all three projects will not be issued until after Commission approval.