Washington DC’s First-Ever Public-Private Partnership Approved for $309m Contract

The DC Smart Street Lighting Project is the first project advanced under the Public-Private Partnership Act of 2014.

Source : Pxhere.com

February 22, 2022

Author : Christina Cyr

As a councilmember in 2014,  Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced the Public-Private Partnership (PP3) Act. The DC Council unanimously passed the legislation to help secure funding for large-scale infrastructure projects in the District. 

The District of Columbia approved a $309 million, 15-year contract with Plenary Infrastructure DC (PIDC) to convert the District’s streetlights to energy-efficient LED technology earlier this month. PIDC will finance the project costs to allow the District to upgrade within two years. The District will pay PIDC back over the course of 15 years, minus any performance-based deductions. The contract structure allows the District to quickly reap the project benefits and improvements without needing all of the capital upfront, according to a press release by the DDOT.

“When I introduced the Public-Private Partnership Act as a Councilmember, I did so knowing the breadth of our city’s infrastructure needs and knowing that this would be a win-win for DC residents,” Mayor Bowser said. “Our ability to modernize our infrastructure is directly related to our ability to increase the quality of life for Washingtonians in all eight wards. With this project, we’re doing so much more than just replacing lights – we’re making our streets safer, our communities more connected, and our city more resilient.”

Increasing the District’s sustainability efforts and reducing energy consumption, the streetlight project includes converting 75,000 streetlights to LED technology. PIDC will also expand  DC-NET, free public Wi-Fi to areas of need, install remote dimming nodes and complete a state of good repair to the streetlight structural elements according to the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) website.

“I am excited that DDOT is leading the charge to complete the nation’s largest urban streetlight modernization project,” added the District Department of Transportation Director Everett Lott. “LEDs provide better lighting and fewer outages, helping us to improve safety and meet our Vision Zero goals.”

PIDC has committed to hiring and training the local workforce and local subcontractors for conversion and operations work. The District and PIDC will work together to reach a commercial and financial close, typical in P3 contracts.

The DDOT anticipates groundbreaking for the project to begin by January 2023. DDOT, in collaboration with PIDC, will have a website for residents to track the project's progress, including door hangers placed at residences before the conversion happens in their neighborhoods. Residents can also expect project updates from DDOT on their website.

Category : Public-Private Partnership Public Works

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