Washington, D.C. — A 30-year veteran of transportation project delivery and a $1.2 billion highway project in North Central Texas were recognized as models of excellence in innovative transportation financing during a special July 17 luncheon at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) 26th Annual Public Private Partnership (P3) Conference in the Nation’s Capital.

The 2014 ARTBA “P3 Awards” were presented in two categories:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Given to at least one individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the forward progress of P3s in the U.S. transportation industry.
  • Project of the Year: Spotlights a project that demonstrates the value P3s bring to the U.S. transportation development. 

The “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” was presented to Russell Zapalac, chief planning and project officer at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Through countless hours working with elected officials in the state legislature, Zapalac successfully convinced state policymakers to incrementally expand TxDOT’s authority to use P3s and Design-Build as innovative delivery methods. Today, the agency has $2.5 billion in P3 projects in operation, $12 billion under construction, and nearly $4 billion in contracts pending. Zapalac is also a long-time member and past president of the ARTBA P3 Division.

The “P3 Project of the Year” award was given to the Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) Connector in Texas. The massive highway expansion and reconstruction project features 24 lanes, including 14 main lanes, six frontage road lanes and four managed toll lanes with dynamic pricing allowing traffic to flow at 50 mph through one of the state’s most congested areas. The project team included: TxDOT; HDR; Jacobs; KPMG; Nossaman; NorthGate Constructors (a joint venture of Kiewit and Zachry Construction); and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The DFW’s innovations in procurement, management, logistics and planning, and other efficiencies resulted in the project being completed six months ahead of schedule with savings of $140 million.