Washington, D.C. — The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) announced the winners of the 2017 National Public-Private Partnership Awards.  As the leading organization in the field, NCPPP annually recognizes exemplary projects and visionary leaders in public-private partnerships (P3s).

“NCPPP recognizes those organizations and individuals that advance the concept and implementation of public-private partnerships across the country,” said NCPPP President Sandy Hoe.  “We are proud to recognize innovators and leaders whose work serves as exemplary partnership models, particularly at a time when P3s are taking on a more prominent role in the United States.”

Winners of the 2017 National Public-Private Partnership Awards will be honored during a special ceremony at NCPPP’s annual conference, P3Connect 2017, on October 13 in Miami Beach.

Award profiles

The Excellence in Public Leadership Award honors exceptional leadership in the development and delivery of a P3 project.  The 2017 winner is Dominique Lueckenhoff, Acting Director of the Water Protection Division with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III.

Ms. Lueckenhoff pioneered a stormwater management program that not only improved the environment but also created jobs, spurred economic revitalization, and generated urban renewal in the community.  The first-of-its-kind pilot project, a retrofit of 2,000 acres of stormwater controls in Prince George’s County, Md., was at a scale that had never been attempted before.  Traditional approaches to projects like this would likely have taken years and cost from $250,000 to $500,000 per acre, but the pilot program had a target cost of no more than $100,000 per acre and a timeframe of three years.  To meet these ambitious constraints, Ms. Lueckenhoff created an approach — which she coined a “Community-Based Public Private Partnership,” or CBP3 — that resulted in the project that eventually became the Clean Water Partnership (CWP).  Incredibly, the CWP is ahead of schedule and delivers projects at less than $40,000 per acre.  Additionally, 96 percent of the CWP work is performed by local businesses, exceeding the original 90 percent target set by the county. This impressive feat exemplifies the CBP3 program’s strong emphasis on local jobs and economic benefits as well as Ms. Lueckenhoff’s dedication to the community with which she works.  The CWP and Ms. Lueckenhoff’s leadership in working collaboratively with organizations — including NCPPP — to inform and educate a wide array of audiences about the CBP3 solution has inspired other projects around the country, underscoring Ms. Lueckenhoff’s innovative spirit and her contribution to the transformation of the stormwater infrastructure sector.

The Infrastructure Project Award recognizes a successful project developed using a P3 that also represents an introduction of design improvements with the type of project or the development of superior new products.  The 2017 winners are the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project — East End Crossing (Lewis and Clark Bridge) and the North Tarrant Express in Texas.

The Lewis and Clark Bridge is a $1.18 billion project that created a crucial alternative to the congested downtown traffic for commuters travelling between Louisville, Ky., and Southern Indiana.  The bridge will create an estimated 15,000 jobs over 30 years, as well as an additional $87 billion for the regional economy.  Incredibly, the project was delivered 23 percent cheaper than estimated and nine months earlier than the original schedule.  This innovative project among the Indiana Finance Authority, The Indiana Department of Transportation and WBV East End Partners, sponsored by Walsh Investors, LLC, VINCI Concessions SAS, and Bilfinger Berger PI International GmbH, came to fruition through an innovative funding mechanism.  Besides achieving “flat” investment ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, and being named “Deal of the Year” by The Bond Buyer, this project created a template for future transactions.  A solution 40 years in the making, the Lewis and Clark Bridge greatly improved transportation in the region.

North Tarrant Express, one of the nation’s largest highway reconstruction projects to be completed in the past two decades, is a $2.1 billion, 13.5-mile corridor that doubles the capacity of and decreases congestion on one of the Dallas-Fort Worth region’s busiest roadways.  Completed nine months ahead of schedule, and implemented much earlier than dictated by the state’s transportation funding model, the North Tarrant Express saves approximately $12.7 million per year (and more than $647 million in maintenance costs over the 45-year concession period).  Not only did Texas save considerable money, but users of the North Tarrant Express commend the project in recent surveys, as motorists experience 60-70 percent less congestion and increased speeds of 10-15 miles per hour, even during peak hours. The partnership among the Texas Department of Transportation, Cintra, Meridiam, Ferrovial Agroman/Webber, and the North Central Texas Council of Governments made this vast improvement of the driving experience in the Dallas-Fort Worth region possible.

The Innovation Project Award recognizes an original concept that demonstrates a significant advance in the field of P3s.  The 2017 winners are the Residences at Government Center in Fairfax, Va., and the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Metro Region Freeway Lighting project.

The Residences at Government Center represent a leap forward in financing efficient, affordable housing.  The project boasts affordable housing for entry-level professionals and lower-income employees and residents — the people who make Fairfax County’s economy run. Incredibly, the community was built at no cost to the local taxpayer, due to the innovative hybrid financial structure that used 9 percent and 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.  The first project of its kind in Virginia, the Residences at Government Center came to fruition through a partnership among the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the Virginia Housing Development Authority, Fairfax County, Jefferson Apartments Group, and SCG Development.  An EarthCraft Home-certified gold project, the Residences at Government Center serve as a model for future sustainable workforce housing throughout the nation.

The Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) street lighting project was a $125 million project that replaced 15,000 bulbs with efficient LED versions across bridges, tunnels and roadways in the Detroit metropolitan region. This innovative project was completed through a partnership among MDOT and a team composed of Star America and Aldridge Electric. Nossaman LLP, AECOM and KPMG acted as advisors to MDOT. Due to the financing structure, which guarantees each party is held accountable, the project will be delivered to the community for a lower annual cost to the taxpayers than the cost that MDOT would have incurred had it not engaged in the partnership.  The lighting upgrade —the first transportation P3 in Michigan and the first freeway lighting P3 in the United States — ensures better safety conditions for Detroit, improves energy efficiency and serves as a template for future lighting projects.

The Service Project Award recognizes a successful P3 service delivery that represents delivery improvements or superior new services.  The 2017 winner is the U.S. 36 Express Lanes project in Colorado.

The U.S. 36 Express Lanes project is one of the nation’s first transportation corridors designed to accommodate a variety of transportation modes, including general and managed lanes, bus rapid transit, bicycling, and walking.  Also making history as the first in the state to incorporate a bus-on-shoulder program — a program that allows buses to drive on the shoulder if speeds drop below 35 mph — this project transformed a congested, crumbling highway into a safer, faster and more enjoyable transportation corridor.  Among the innovations of the project is a walking and biking path that spans the entire corridor and the first buffer-separated express lane in the state, which replaces a traditional physical barrier between the general use and express lanes with a four-foot striped buffer. The partnership among the Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise, Plenary Group, Ames Construction Inc./Granite Construction Company Joint Venture, HDR Engineering, and Goldman Sachs resulted in a more efficient, well-maintained transportation corridor 20 years sooner than planned.