As widely reported, our Economic Development Practice Group, spearheaded by John Lushis, has been involved in a project with Northampton County, as solicitor to its General Purpose Authority, to address 33 bridges that require substantial rehabilitation or replacement. This project, known as a P3 project, is being undertaken pursuant to Act 88 through the Commonwealth’s P3 legislation, which focuses on transportation and related infrastructure repairs, improvement, and replacement.
Last week, this project received front page coverage in the Patriot News out of Harrisburg, which touted this project as the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. County executive John Brown commented that this project will save the county time and money, and further was quoted as saying, “this brings the economy of scale into the equation with shared logistics… so the contractor can mobilize and work on two or three [bridges] at once.”
It was further noted by Stan Rugis, the county’s Director of Public Works, that the County will save 20% to 30% per bridge and push much of the time pressure and risk to the private sector contractor. John Brown, noting that this was a first-of-a-kind effort, wanted to make sure there is an “identifiable model that was sustainable,” so that it can be used to address the next phase of bridge repairs without the need for federal or state funding. This sophisticated model was drafted from scratch by John Lushis.
We predict that this model will be replicated by other Pennsylvania counties in the future, as the Commonwealth has the most structurally deficient bridges in the country. Further, we predict that with the Trump administration, which is touting a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to repair and replace bridges, tunnels, and highways, more P3 styled projects will emerge later this year.