Comments on tolling model due March 10

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Friday, February 07, 2014

The Federal Highway Administration has developed a draft model for states to consider when dealing with public-private partnerships and tolling. The draft is available for viewing and up for public comment. Those comments are due March 10.

A public-private partnership, known as a P3 or PPP, is a contract between a government or quasi-government agency and private sector entities. Examples of public-private partnerships could be the long-term lease of a roadway to the private sector, the construction of commuter lanes along an existing stretch of roadway, or a brand-new roadway built or operated by the private sector. Often PPPs involve tolls.

OOIDA opposes the privatization of existing public transportation infrastructure. The Association also opposes tolls on existing infrastructure built with federal tax dollars.

A year ago, the Federal Highway Administration reached out to stakeholders from states and the private sector to ask what they would like the draft model for tolling and public-private partnerships to focus on. This action was required under the current highway law MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century.

According to the FHWA, the stakeholders said that any guidelines for tolling and public-private partnership should be flexible and not too rigid.

The FHWA states in a Jan. 30 posting in the Federal Register that the stakeholders also requested some direction for “the more controversial and/or complex provisions that warranted amplified discussion.”

In its draft model, the administration focuses on seven criteria, and those are up for public comment through March 10.

In brief, they are tolling regulations; revenue sharing between public and private entities; contractual relief and compensation for unforeseen circumstances; how law changes affect contracts; changes in ownership and transfers of a facility; default and early termination of concessions; and the handing back of a facility upon contract termination.

There are three ways to comment: the federal rulemaking portal at regulations.gov, by hand delivery and by mail. All comments must reference the docket number FHWA-2014-0006.

The mailing address is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E., W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

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