Improving our roadways is critical to meeting the transportation needs of Colorado, one of the top five fastest growing states in the country. Overly congested highways lead to deterioration -- of travel time, road quality, safety, our economy and the environment. As transportation needs increase, access to government funding for transportation is decreasing just as rapidly. Working with a gas tax that never increases with inflation, more energy efficient cars and diminished government funding, Colorado must find other ways to finance growth and repairs.
Express Lanes increase capacity, maximize the efficiency of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes and help manage congestion on the highways. Adjusting toll pricing during peak travel times will help reduce delays, manage congestion, and keep travel times reliable.
For CDOT, innovation is a necessity. In 2009, the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) was formed to aggressively pursue innovative ways of more efficiently financing important transportation projects. The HPTE operates as a government-owned, independent business within CDOT.
Public Private Partnerships (P3) are just one of the financing tools the HPTE looks at to help fund important transportation projects. It’s not the only tool. A few benefits of P3s are faster construction, larger scope, more innovation and less risk for taxpayers. The private entity invests over the whole life of the project, including all infrastructure upgrades needed and with long-term, performance-based requirements to meet before receiving payments.
The Value for Money Analysis (VFM) was recently completed. This considered three different potential P3 models that included toll risk, annual performance payments, and partner to design, build and finance. While projected toll revenue does not generate sufficient revenues to cover costs, Express Lanes will be used to manage traffic and provide significantly faster travel times. Right now, we are looking at the best way to pay for this critically important project.
With this new era of innovation and our ability to move transportation projects to construction so much faster, public involvement is more important than ever. We will have opportunities for the public at four key mile markers:
Then, if a P3 is determined to be the best option: