BRADENTON, Fla. — The Georgia Department of Transportation is moving forward with its second public-private partnership project — a long-discussed multi-modal passenger terminal in downtown Atlanta.
Qualifications from firms interested in being the master developer to plan and designing the project will be sought beginning Sept. 24, the agency announced.
The project involves co-locating intercity, regional, and local buses and existing rail systems while planning for future transportation modes, including high-speed rail. The approximately 62-acre site is expected to incorporate commercial, retail, and housing elements.
“This transportation center will be the cornerstone of statewide transit services and connecting the high-speed rail lines throughout the Southeast,” GDOT commissioner Vance Smith said in a statement.
The DOT has approximately $60 million of federal funds earmarked for the project, which ultimately will be accomplished and financed through a shared-risk P3 between the state and private sector, said DOT spokesperson Crystal Paulk-Buchanan.
The state has applied for additional funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER II, competitive grant program, Paulk-Buchanan said. It is not clear at this point if bonding will be considered.
The GDOT has hired consultant Jeffrey A. Parker & Associates Inc., whose duties include defining the procurement strategy and developing a financial plan integrating public and private resources.
The project has been discussed for a number of years and was estimated to cost approximately $320 million in 2005, according to published reports. But that estimate has not been updated and the master developer will help define costs of the project, which is likely to be built in phases, Paulk-Buchanan said.
“We are at the beginning of a project that will certainly take several years to fully complete,” Smith said.
GDOT is developing the multi-modal project with the city of Atlanta, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority — also known as MARTA — the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and Central Atlanta Progress.
Georgia has partnered with several Southeast states to study the feasibility of high-speed rail connections between Atlanta, Louisville, Birmingham, and Jacksonville, Fla.
On Friday, GDOT launched its third P3 initiative, which is the privatization of 17 rest areas and nine welcome centers across the state.
The agency wants the private sector to help mitigate the state’s costs to operate and maintain the rest areas and welcome centers. It is anticipated that the state will enter a contract with a firm or consortium willing to take over the rest areas and welcome centers in return for funding that would be obtained from advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Qualifications from interested firms will be sought beginning Aug. 30.
More information about all the state’s P3 projects can be found at dot.ga.gov.