High Performance Transportation Board Unanimously Approves US 36 Concessionaire Agreement

February 19, 2014 - Statewide Transportation Plan - Financial close expected by next week.

DENVER/NORTHEAST COLORADO — The High Performance Transportation Enterprise Board unanimously approved three resolutions to move forward the US 36 public private partnership concessionaire agreement.  The board approved resolutions addressing the US 36 concession financial close documentation, the US 36 bond documents and TIFIA Phase 1 documents.  The CDOT Transportation Commission addresses the concessionaire agreement at their meeting tomorrow.  Financial close is expected by next week.

Approval followed a public comment session during which members of the public had the opportunity to address the board following an established process.  The board meeting follows an additional engagement period over the last two weeks where CDOT participated in three public meetings to address questions and presented to the legislature. CDOT addressed how the agreement protects the taxpayers and traveling public while accelerating and completing a much needed project 20 years that would otherwise be possible given available funding, while also shifting the risk of construction costs and toll collection to a private partner.

The US 36 project has been the result of an extensive public process over the last decade.  The project began in 2003 with an Environmental Impact Statement process that included intense and lengthy participation from local governments and incorporated hundreds of public comments from numerous public meetings. The US 36 Express Lanes Project – a new express lane for Bus Rapid Transit, carpool vehicles and tolled vehicles, as well as the reconstruction of existing general purpose lanes (which continue to be free to all users) and the rebuilding of many aging bridges and a bikeway – is the result of that process.

Phase I of the US 36 project is currently under construction and will be opened by spring 2015.  Phase II of the project will be executed through a public private partnership.  Plenary Roads Denver was chosen last April as the concessionaire for the project after a two-phase competitive big process, which also included consultation with local governments and covered by the media.  CDOT is entering into this agreement to build much-needed improvements on a highway opened in 1995 two decades sooner than the agency could otherwise afford.

As the first public private partnership for the state of Colorado, the arrangement will accelerate construction through the investment of the private sector while transferring the risk of construction and maintenance costs, as well as toll revenues to the concessionaire.  CDOT has agreed with the concern surrounding transparency and looks forward to working with the legislature on a bill improving this process.

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Fact Sheet

US 36 Configuration