Pennsylvania's Public Private Transportation Partnership (P3) Board approved a new transportation initiative that will help accelerate the reconstruction and rehabilitation of major bridges in partnership with the private sector.
Through this program, PennDOT will be able to accelerate critical work on major bridges across the state through the consideration of user fees.
The Major Bridge P3 program will allow for the delivery of these major bridges through appropriate contracting P3 delivery model for each project or package of projects, and will help PennDOT achieve the following goals:
- Accelerate the renewal of major bridges to ensure public safety;
- Avoid time and financial impacts of travel diversion resulting from bridge restrictions and closures due to bridge condition;
- Help offset gas tax revenue losses, as identified by the state Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic;
- Ensure users (including out-of-state traffic) contribute fairly to the replacement or rehabilitation of the bridges based on usage; and
- Create a sustainable funding model for the state's major bridges.
PennDOT will consider the P3 delivery model for major bridges and apply it in a geographically-balanced manner statewide. Major bridges are structures of significance based on physical size, location, and cost to replace or rehabilitate. These structures are in a condition that warrants timely attention to enhance safety and to avoid disruptions and community impacts if closure or weight restriction were imposed.
By using a P3 delivery method, PennDOT can leverage private sector innovation to address complex projects and to help ensure the longevity of infrastructure investments.
The Major Bridge P3 program is a component of PennDOT's Pathways initiative, part of the department's ongoing work to explore sustainable transportation funding options in response to a growing highway and bridge funding gap. Seventy-four percent of highway and bridge funding is generated through gas taxes, but fuel consumption has been progressively decreasing. The initiative will aim to provide travelers, residents, and businesses with high-quality transportation infrastructure by studying and implementing alternative funding solutions that could address near- and long-term highway and bridge needs.