Pennsylvania's Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board approved a project seeking a private partner to develop clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations at public transit agencies around the state that would also provide public access to the facilities.
Courtesy Marathon Corp.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for PennDOT and its transit-agency partners to team with the private sector to take advantage of the state's natural gas resources, save money and improve our environment," said PennDOT Secretary and P3 Board Chairman Barry J. Schoch. "This is another example of the options we now have to expand or improve services because Governor Corbett signed the P3 law."
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Through the project, the private partner will design, build, finance, operate and maintain CNG filling stations at up to 37 transit facilities. Each fueling site must provide access to CNG for public transit and other CNG vehicles alike.
In addition, PennDOT will enter into a CNG supply contract with the selected partner as well as purchase agreements with each of the transit agencies. PennDOT would receive a portion of the fuel sales revenue, with the money being returned to transit agencies to assist with future capital projects.
To kick off the project, PennDOT will release a Request for Qualifications to solicit interested parties and expects to invite qualified teams to submit proposals early next year. A project team could be selected in summer 2015.
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In September 2012, Corbett signed into law the Public and Private Partnerships for Transportation Act, which authorized P3 projects in Pennsylvania. This law allows PennDOT and other transportation authorities and commissions to partner with private companies to participate in delivering, maintaining and financing transportation-related projects.
As part of the P3 law, the seven-member Public Private Transportation Partnership Board was appointed to examine and approve potential public-private transportation projects. If the board determines a state operation or project would be more cost-effectively administered or delivered by a private company, the department or appropriate transportation agency can advertise a competitive RFP and enter into a contract with a company to completely or partially deliver the transportation-related service or project.
To learn more about P3 in Pennsylvania, visit www.P3forPA.pa.gov.
In 2013, Pennsylvania became the second-largest natural gas producing state in the nation. The abundance of low-cost natural gas has driven electric and natural gas prices down nearly 40 percent since 2008, saving the average Pennsylvania resident nearly $1,200 annually in lower energy costs. After importing 75 percent of its natural gas just five years ago, Pennsylvania has become a net exporter of gas for the first time in more than 100 years.