The Virginia Port Authority Tuesday decided to decline private sector proposals to operate as a public-private partnership, something the agency’s board has been considering since receiving an unsolicited proposal last year.

Port officials voted unanimously to reorganize the authority and its operations.

Gov. Bob McDonnell had asked the VPA to consider proposals under which a private company would have operated certain port facilities under a long-term lease.

At least one of those plans included an up-front payment to cover debt service on some $400 million of bonds.

“The VPA has determined that the commonwealth should focus on the major restructuring [of] the current operations, organization, strategy and leadership, and to end the unsolicited proposals under the Public-Private Transportation Act,” McDonnell said. “I thank them for their work and in following my directive to conduct a thorough review of all prudent proposals and to do what is right for the taxpayers.”

McDonnell and the Virginia Department of Transportation have made a concerted effort to place the state at the forefront of national P3 development, offering private firms a “pipeline” of more than 20 major projects that could be operated as P3s.

In the coming days, McDonnell said he and the VDOT secretary would review the action taken by the VPA.

McDonnell said he would comment further “after that review is completed.”

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