Success Story

Bridging Challenges: P3/Infrastructure Group Paves the Way for Landmark PennDOT Program

April 10, 2024

Taking stock a few years back of highway infrastructure needs statewide, officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation knew it would require a new approach to address critical upgrades and maintenance without breaking the taxpayer-funded budget.

In response, the landmark Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (MBP3) was established. MBP3’s purpose is to expedite replacement and rehabilitation of major bridges throughout Pennsylvania—with greater efficiency and fewer disruptions to the traveling public, and without near-term programmed impact on PennDOT’s budget.

P3s such as the MBP3 authorize public agencies to access private sector resources and partner with private companies to finance and complete projects. Lawyers from Ballard Spahr’s P3/Infrastructure Group served as PennDOT’s P3 counsel in designing and implementing the progressive P3 delivery model. As P3 counsel, these attorneys provided the input and advocacy that PennDOT needed to feel confident moving forward with the important, groundbreaking program. They drafted all MBP3 procurement and project documents, including the Design Build Finance Maintain (DBFM) project agreement, as well as RFQ- and RFP-related documents and the predevelopment agreement.

Also on behalf of PennDOT, Ballard Spahr attorneys reviewed and commented on all financing and security documents related to the developer’s financing package. The Ballard Spahr team that represented PennDOT was led by Steve T. Park and John P. Smolen, partners in the firm’s national Finance Department and co-leaders of the P3/Infrastructure Group.

Under the MBP3, six major bridges on interstate highways throughout Pennsylvania are being replaced or rehabilitated. The six bridges were selected based on location, size, and cost to replace or rehabilitate. Though not unsafe, the bridges’ conditions warrant timely attention to avoid future closures or weight restrictions, PennDOT said. For more information about each of the bridges and projects, visit PennDOT’s webpage.

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