PennDOT’s Office of Public Private Partnerships (P3) has taken a different “route” in its search for proposals for transportation projects — it is asking the private sector for ideas.
P3 is accepting its second round of proposals for transportation projects.
“This is just an avenue that if the department is unaware that a certain technology exists or that there’s a certain innovative way of delivering a project that maybe we haven’t previously thought of or been aware of, it gives the private sector a chance to offer solutions as well,” said Bryan Kendro, director of the Office of Policy and Public Private Partnerships.
PennDOT is looking for “innovative” ways to deliver transportation projects that apply to roads, bridges, rail, aviation and ports.
The department is also accepting proposals for improving existing transportation-related services and programs.
Kendro said the proposals they receive go to a steering committee which evaluates the projects.
“Ultimately, once we decide that we’re comfortable with a project and we think its something that we definitely want to do, that steering committee makes a recommendation essentially to the board that they should consider it and approve it,” Kendro said.
The first round of proposals was accepted in the spring, and the board recently approved two of the six that were considered.
The first was a project from Bentley Systems Inc., which proposed an upgrade of PennDOT’s truck permitting system.
Kendro said this was an issue that PennDOT was looking into anyway, but Bentley Systems Inc. proposed its product — which is already deployed in 20 states across the country — as a solution to consider.
The second, from Paoli-based Site Acquisition Services Inc. called for a consultant to help the department market opportunities for cell phone companies to locate their equipment on PennDOT property.
“There will be some initial costs to begin developing the program and possibly erecting towers or other pieces of equipment for the telecom companies to locate their equipment on, but eventually we actually think it will generate revenue for the department, so it shouldn’t in theory cost us anything,” Kendro said.
PennDOT would also be able to negotiate market rate leases with those companies to raise revenue for transportation related projects.
PennDOT is accepting proposals online until Oct. 31.