By Ed Green
A top leader at the US Department of Transportation assured delegates at the P3 Hub Americas Conference of continued federal government support of public-private partnerships.
It is “an exciting time to be in transportation and infrastructure,” said Jim Ray, Senior Advisor for Infrastructure at the USDOT. President Donald Trump “is still very committed to infrastructure,” he added.
Two major bridge projects in Kentucky are considered likely candidates for P3 financing — Northern Kentucky’s Brent Spence Bridge and the I-69 Ohio River Crossing in Henderson.
The Brent Spence Bridge, which carries I-75 traffic, needs replacement and the estimated cost currently tops $3.6 billion.
Motorists are 3-5 times more likely to have a wreck on the Brent Spence Bridge corridor than any other portion of the interstate systems of Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana. Innovation is needed to design a safer alternative and to finance the project.
The Brent Spence projectin Cincinnati, Ohio is considering utilizing a public-private partnership via adesign-build-finance-operate-maintain approach. This P3 has the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars and shave years off the project’s timeline, helping reduce congestion and boost cross-river travel between Northern KY and Cincinnati.
Because funds do not presently exist to replace and refurbish the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor using traditional revenues, a P3 would shift building, operating and maintaining of the bridge to the private sector, potentially fast-tracking the project.
The I-69 Ohio River Crossing between Henderson, KY and Evansville, IN is nearing the completion of an environmental analysis that will determine the best location for an interstate bridge. This bridge would complete the connection between the two cities and provide cross-river linkage for the National I-69 corridor that will eventually link Texas to Michigan.
A new I-69 bridge would reduce the cost of maintaining existing, aging structures and a wider roadway would reduce high-crash locations along the route.
Both the Brent Spence Bridge and the I-69 Ohio River Crossing will need innovative approaches, such as P3, to reduce costs and maximize efficiencies.
Ray added that technology’s “massively fast cycle” on a global scale would change the way infrastructure is thought about and delivered. Using innovative tools and methods – like public-private partnerships – to increase cost efficiencies and shorten project times benefits everyone.