The Transform I-66 Outside the Beltway project is currently requesting comments on the procurement process, which will affect neighborhood residents, commuters, and taxpayers. The procurement public comment period ends on June 16.
The updated materials from the May 2016 meetings, including the Concept Plans are posted at: http://outside.transform66.org/meetings/may_2016_public_hearings.asp
There are currently two teams with active bids to build and toll the I-66 express lanes. One team is led by a familiar name in Virginia, Transurban of Melbourne, Australia. Transurban is known for operating the I-95, I-495, and I-395 express lanes, as well as illegal campaign contributions to Virginia politicians during the procurement of those projects, and being forced in local courtrooms to soften predatory toll and fee collections practices. For this project, Transurban would be joined by Skanska of Stockholm, Sweden and Archer Western.
The second bidding team is led by Cintra, of Madrid, Spain. They would be joined by financier Meridiam of Paris, France. (For anyone who has driven on the Autoroutes of France, or the Autopistas of Spain, you know that high tolls charged by concessionaires are a tradition). Their construction partners would be Ferrovial of Madrid (Cintra’s parent company), and Allan Myers of Malvern, Pa.
Comments are sought on the procurement. At this time, VDoT says Virginia is heavily leaning toward a public private partnership to build, finance, operate, and toll the I-66 express lanes although it is not yet determined. You might recall that in May 2015, Transportation Secretary Layne stated that Virginia could save about a billion dollars by doing the tolling and financing without a private concessionaire. The construction lobby was aghast at this suggestion, and a few months later the full public private partnership was once again VDoT’s preference in a newly written finding of “public interest.”
You may comment on other aspects on the procurement, such as any rules on construction noise day and night, sound barrier construction, storm/flood water handling downstream of the project, “compensation events” designed to protect the private operator’s toll revenue from competing public infrastructure improvements, and neighborhood traffic impacts caused by construction. If you have comments on any of these or other issues, be sure to comment while you can.
The full documents are available on the Virginia P3 Agency at: http://www.p3virginia.org/projects/interstate-66-corridor-improvements
Submit your comments via email or by postal mail to Susan Shaw, Megaprojects Director, at the VDOT District Office, 4975 Alliance Dr, Fairfax VA 22030.
You may also email comments to Transform66@VDOT.Virginia.gov. Please reference “Transform 66 Outside the Beltway” in the subject line.
Comments must be postmarked, emailed or delivered to VDOT by June 16, 2016 to be included in the public hearing record.