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Board to consider P3 for bridge replacements

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Pennsylvania's Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board plans to vote on several public-private partnerships — or P3 — proposals today, including reviewing an idea to replace hundreds of bridges around the state through such a partnership.

The board, created last year to review and approve P3s, could determine whether the state Department of Transportation can move forward with a P3 proposal for hundreds of bridge replacement projects, said Steve Chizmar, a PennDOT spokesman.

The department wants to put out the large-scale contract on the bridges, in which the successful bidding company would front the money to replace the bridges over multiple years, Chizmar said. The company also would be responsible for maintenance on the bridges in a given time span.

In return, the state would pay back the companies with interest on their investment, he said. What that interest is depends on the companies' bids, but the expectation is that it could be more cost effective than other financing options, he said.

The state doesn't have bids yet, Chizmar said. This is just the first step to have the P3 board say whether PennDOT can even do such a project.

The board also will vote on two unsolicited P3s PennDOT received over the summer. In the first, Chester County-based Site Acquisition Services Inc. will market the state's bridges, buildings and signs to wireless communication companies for the placement of antennas.

In the second, Bentley Systems Inc., also of Chester County, would replace PennDOT's automated permit routing and analysis system, known as APPRAS, with one that can enable multistate permitting for haulers.

The board meets today at 1 p.m. in Public Utility Commission Hearing Room 1 of the Keystone Building at 400 North St., Harrisburg.

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