ARTBA P3 Awards luncheon, from left to right: ARTBA Chairman Matt Cummings (AECOM); Tony Elkins (Cintra); Jane Garvey (Meridiam), the P3 Champion of the Year winner; Bill Hale (Texas DOT accepting the P3 Project of the Year award); Steve DeWitt (ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc.); Megan Kenny (Texas DOT); and Simon Santiago of (Nossaman LLP), the 2018 P3 Division president.

By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA

Jane Garvey, North American chairwoman of Meridiam Infrastructure, and the North Tarrant Express project in Texas are models of excellence in innovative transportation financing. They were recognized at ARTBA’s 30th Annual Public Private Partnerships (P3s) in Transportation Conference, July 19, in the Nation’s Capital.

The awards were presented in two categories:

P3 Champion of the Year: Jane Garvey. It is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the forward progress of P3s in the U.S. transportation industry.

Garvey’s distinguished career includes serving as first female Federal Aviation Administrator. She led the agency through extraordinary safety and modernization milestones, including Y2K preparation and following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks

Garvey served as acting administrator and deputy administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), where she conceived and developed the “Innovative Financing Initiative,” or GARVEE bonds, enabling states to use federal highway funds more effectively. Most of the funds-management methods tested by more than 30 states under the initiative were later enacted into law. Before leading FHWA, she was director of Boston’s Logan International Airport and the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Works. Prior to joining Meridiam, Garvey led the U.S. Public Private Partnerships advisory group at JPMorgan.

P3 Project of the Year: North Tarrant Express in Texas. It annually spotlights a project that demonstrates the value P3s bring to U.S. transportation development.

The $2.1 billion, 13.5-mile North Tarrant Express project improved safety and doubled highway capacity lanes across six municipalities in North Texas, including one of the state’s busiest highway corridors with as many as 200,000 cars traveling the stretch daily. The project, which began in 2010 and was completed nine months ahead of schedule in late 2014, was long considered a high priority for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and became one of the first P3 projects of its kind to be approved under comprehensive state legislation passed in 2003.

Long-term savings for TxDOT include $650 million in maintenance costs estimated over the remaining 45-year concession period. The partnership leveraged public investment by more than five times, enabling the project to be completed earlier than under the state’s transportation funding model.

The project team includes: NTE Mobility Partners, Bluebonnet Contractors LLC, Webber LLC, North Central Texas Council of Governments, TxDOT, Regional Transportation Council, Cintra U.S., Meridiam Infrastructure, and the cities of North Richland Hills, Fort Worth, Haltom City, Hurst, Bedford, and Euless.

The expansive design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) reconstruction project has greatly changed the face of infrastructure in the Dallas-Fort Worth and greater North Texas region, enabling transportation officials and elected leaders to plan for the anticipated traffic growth that is expected over the next 20 years.

For three decades, ARTBA’s P3 conference has been the private infrastructure investment community’s premier opportunity to connect with hundreds of key decision makers, project sponsors, private-sector finance executives, and government leaders from all levels. Visit www.artbap3.org to learn more.