High Performance Transportation Enterprise Receives Unsolicited Public-Private Partnership Proposal to Improve I-70 between C-470 and Silverthorne

August 24, 2011 - Central Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - JEFFERSON, CLEAR CREEK AND SUMMIT COUNTIES-- The High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE), a government-owned business within The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), has received an unsolicited proposal for a public-private partnership for the I-70 west mountain corridor.

The unsolicited proposal has been submitted by Parsons, an international design, engineering and construction company.  The proposed development plan identifies a phased program of transportation infrastructure improvements on Interstate 70 between C-470 and Silverthorne initially and extending to Eagle in the future. The proposal does not preclude improvements identified in the I-70 west mountain corridor Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision.

The proposal includes an innovative finance opportunity that requires little or no public funding and a construction schedule beginning in mid to late 2014.

HPTE and CDOT staff is in the process of determining whether the proposal meets certain criteria in order to move ahead with a formal evaluation of the proposal.  This high-level review will consider to what extent the proposed project benefits the state, whether the funding plan appears viable, what other proposed projects may be planned in the area and how the proposal may accelerate or affect such projects and also what resources currently exist.  This review is now underway and the HPTE intends to determine whether or not to accept the proposal for a formal evaluation by mid-September. The formal evaluation of the proposal would then follow and could take another 90-120 days to complete, if approved by the HPTE Board of Directors.  If, after input from technical advisors and stakeholders, the HPTE elects to proceed with the proposal, HPTE guidelines require that a request for other proposals be issued for parties that may be interested in developing and implementing a program of improvements on I-70 west. Based on these factors, it is anticipated that a decision as to whether or not to proceed with the project (as proposed or otherwise) will not be made until early 2012.  Even then, the project would depend on financing and require approval by both the HPTE and the Colorado Transportation Commission. It would also need to conform to Federal and State requirements, including environmental clearance under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

Specific details of the proposal are proprietary and confidential per Parsons and cannot be released until the project proceeds through the evaluation process as defined by the HPTE guidelines for unsolicited project proposals.   During this time, CDOT and HPTE staff is unable to comment on the proposal or provide further details.  Additionally, so as not to confuse the process, other unsolicited proposals for projects on I-70 west will not be accepted until there is a formal announcement that the HPTE is accepting other proposals or decides not to move forward with this particular proposal.

HPTE Background

The HPTE was created by legislation in 2009 to aggressively pursue innovative means of more efficiently financing important transportation projects that will improve the safety, capacity, and accessibility of the surface transportation system, can feasibly be commenced in a reasonable amount of time, will allow more efficient movement of people, goods, and information throughout the state, and will accelerate the economic recovery of the state.

Such innovative means of financing projects include, but are not limited to, public-private partnerships, operating concession agreements, user fee-based project financing, and availability payment and design-build contracting.

More information on the HPTE can be found at http://www.coloradodot.info/about/high-performance-transportation-enterprise-hpte