The High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE), a government-owned business within the Colorado Dept. of Transportation, has received an unsolicited proposal for a public-private partnership to improve the I-70 west mountain corridor.

The proposal has been submitted by Parsons, a Pasadena, Calif.-based international design, engineering and construction company. The proposed development plan identifies a phased program of transportation infrastructure improvements on Interstate 70 between C-470 and Silverthorne initially and extending to Eagle in the future. The proposal does not preclude improvements identified in the I-70 west mountain corridor Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision., according to CDOT.

Parson’s proposal includes "an innovative finance opportunity that requires little or no public funding and a construction schedule beginning in mid- to late 2014," CDOT said in a statement, but added that it cannot release further details, per the proposal agreement.

HPTE and CDOT staff are in the process of determining whether the proposal meets certain criteria in order to move ahead with a formal evaluation of the proposal. This high-level review will consider to what extent the proposed project benefits the state, whether the funding plan appears viable, what other proposed projects may be planned in the area and how the proposal may accelerate or affect such projects and also what resources currently exist.  

The review is now under way and the HPTE intends to determine whether or not to accept the proposal for a formal evaluation by mid-September. The formal evaluation of the proposal would then follow and could take another 90-120 days to complete, if approved by the HPTE board of directors. If, after input from technical advisers and stakeholders, the HPTE elects to proceed with the proposal, HPTE guidelines require that a request for other proposals be issued for parties that may be interested in developing and implementing a program of improvements on I-70 west.

Based on these factors, it is anticipated that a decision as to whether or not to proceed with the project (as proposed or otherwise) will not be made until early 2012.  Even then, the project would depend on financing and require approval by both the HPTE and the Colorado Transportation Commission. It would also need to conform to Federal and State requirements, including environmental clearance under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). 

Specific details of the proposal are proprietary and confidential per Parsons and cannot be released until the project proceeds through the evaluation process as defined by the HPTE guidelines for unsolicited project proposals. CDOT and HPTE staff would not comment on the proposal or provide further details.  

Additionally, so as not to confuse the process, other unsolicited proposals for projects on I-70 west will not be accepted until there is a formal announcement that the HPTE is accepting other proposals or decides not to move forward with this particular proposal.