Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
3/24/2017

The Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002

§ 56-575.1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Affected jurisdiction" means any county, city or town in which all or a portion of a qualifying project is located.

"Appropriating body" means the body responsible for appropriating or authorizing funding to pay for a qualifying project.

"Commission" means the State Corporation Commission.

"Comprehensive agreement" means the comprehensive agreement between the private entity and the responsible public entity required by § 56-575.9.

"Develop" or "development" means to plan, design, develop, finance, lease, acquire, install, construct, or expand.

"Interim agreement" means an agreement between a private entity and a responsible public entity that provides for phasing of the development or operation, or both, of a qualifying project. Such phases may include, but are not limited to, design, planning, engineering, environmental analysis and mitigation, financial and revenue analysis, or any other phase of the project that constitutes activity on any part of the qualifying project.

"Lease payment" means any form of payment, including a land lease, by a public entity to the private entity for the use of a qualifying project.

"Material default" means any default by the private entity in the performance of its duties under subsection E of § 56-575.8 that jeopardizes adequate service to the public from a qualifying project.

"Operate" means to finance, maintain, improve, equip, modify, repair, or operate.

"Private entity" means any natural person, corporation, general partnership, limited liability company, limited partnership, joint venture, business trust, public benefit corporation, non-profit entity, or other business entity.

"Public entity" means the Commonwealth and any agency or authority thereof, any county, city or town and any other political subdivision of the Commonwealth, any public body politic and corporate, or any regional entity that serves a public purpose.

"Qualifying project" means (i) any education facility, including, but not limited to a school building, any functionally related and subordinate facility and land to a school building (including any stadium or other facility primarily used for school events), and any depreciable property provided for use in a school facility that is operated as part of the public school system or as an institution of higher education; (ii) any building or facility that meets a public purpose and is developed or operated by or for any public entity; (iii) any improvements, together with equipment, necessary to enhance public safety and security of buildings to be principally used by a public entity; (iv) utility and telecommunications and other communications infrastructure; (v) a recreational facility; (vi) technology infrastructure, services, and applications, including, but not limited to, telecommunications, automated data processing, word processing and management information systems, and related information, equipment, goods and services; (vii) any services designed to increase the productivity or efficiency of the responsible public entity through the use of technology or other means, (viii) any technology, equipment, or infrastructure designed to deploy wireless broadband services to schools, businesses, or residential areas; (ix) any improvements necessary or desirable to any unimproved locally- or state-owned real estate; or (x) any solid waste management facility as defined in § 10.1-1400 that produces electric energy derived from solid waste.

"Responsible public entity" means a public entity that has the power to develop or operate the applicable qualifying project.

"Revenues" means all revenues, income, earnings, user fees, lease payments, or other service payments arising out of or in connection with supporting the development or operation of a qualifying project, including without limitation, money received as grants or otherwise from the United States of America, from any public entity, or from any agency or instrumentality of the foregoing in aid of such facility.

"Service contract" means a contract entered into between a public entity and the private entity pursuant to § 56-575.5.

"Service payments" means payments to the private entity of a qualifying project pursuant to a service contract.

"State" means the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"User fees" mean the rates, fees or other charges imposed by the private entity of a qualifying project for use of all or a portion of such qualifying project pursuant to the comprehensive agreement pursuant to § 56-575.9.

2002, c. 571; 2003, c. 1034; 2005, cc. 618, 865; 2007, cc. 649, 764; 2008, cc. 273, 731; 2009, cc. 754, 762.

§ 56-575.2. Declaration of public purpose.

A. The General Assembly finds that:

1. There is a public need for timely acquisition, design, construction, improvement, renovation, expansion, equipping, maintenance, operation, implementation, or installation of education facilities, technology infrastructure and other public infrastructure and government facilities within the Commonwealth that serve a public need and purpose;

2. Such public need may not be wholly satisfied by existing methods of procurement in which qualifying projects are acquired, designed, constructed, improved, renovated, expanded, equipped, maintained, operated, implemented, or installed;

3. There are inadequate resources to develop new education facilities, technology infrastructure and other public infrastructure and government facilities for the benefit of citizens of the Commonwealth, and there is demonstrated evidence that public-private partnerships can meet these needs by improving the schedule for delivery, lowering the cost, and providing other benefits to the public;

4. Financial incentives exist under state and federal tax provisions that promote public entities to enter into partnerships with private entities to develop qualifying projects;

5. Authorizing private entities to develop or operate one or more qualifying projects may result in the availability of such projects to the public in a more timely or less costly fashion, thereby serving the public safety, benefit, and welfare.

B. An action under § 56-575.4 shall serve the public purpose of this chapter if such action facilitates the timely development or operation of qualifying projects.

C. It is the intent of this chapter, among other things, to encourage investment in the Commonwealth by private entities and facilitate the bond financing provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 or other similar financing mechanisms, private capital and other funding sources that support the development or operation of qualifying projects, to the end that financing for qualifying projects be expanded and accelerated to improve and add to the convenience of the public, and such that public and private entities may have the greatest possible flexibility in contracting with each other for the provision of the public services that are the subject of this chapter.

D. This chapter shall be liberally construed in conformity with the purposes hereof.

2002, c. 571; 2003, c. 1034; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.3. Prerequisite for operation of a qualifying project.

A. Any private entity seeking authorization under this chapter to develop or operate a qualifying project shall first obtain approval of the responsible public entity under § 56-575.4. Such private entity may initiate the approval process by requesting approval pursuant to subsection A of § 56-575.4 or the responsible public entity may request proposals or invite bids pursuant to subsection B of § 56-575.4.

B. Any facility, building, infrastructure or improvement included in a proposal as a part of a qualifying project shall be identified specifically or conceptually.

C. Upon receipt by the responsible public entity of a proposal submitted by a private entity initiating the approval process pursuant to subsection A of § 56-575.4, the responsible public entity shall determine whether to accept such proposal for consideration in accordance with § 56-575.16. If the responsible public entity determines not to accept for consideration the proposal submitted by the private entity pursuant to subsection A of § 56-575.4, it shall return the proposal, together with all fees and accompanying documentation, to the private entity.

D. The responsible public entity may reject any proposal initiated by a private entity pursuant to subsection A of § 56-575.4 at any time. If the responsible public entity rejects a proposal initiated by a private entity that purports to develop specific cost savings, the public entity shall specify the basis for the rejection.

2002, c. 571; 2003, cc. 292, 1034; 2005, c. 865; 2011, c. 308.

§ 56-575.3:1. Adoption of guidelines by responsible public entities.

A. A responsible public entity shall, prior to requesting or considering a proposal for a qualifying project, adopt and make publicly available guidelines that are sufficient to enable the responsible public entity to comply with this chapter. Such guidelines shall be reasonable, encourage competition, and guide the selection of projects under the purview of the responsible public entity.

B. For a responsible public entity that is an agency or institution of the Commonwealth, the guidelines shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Opportunities for competition through public notice and availability of representatives of the responsible public entity to meet with private entities considering a proposal;

2. Reasonable criteria for choosing among competing proposals;

3. Suggested timelines for selecting proposals and negotiating an interim or comprehensive agreement;

4. Authorization for accelerated selection and review and documentation timelines for proposals involving a qualifying project that the responsible public entity deems a priority;

5. Financial review and analysis procedures that shall include, at a minimum, a cost-benefit analysis, an assessment of opportunity cost, and consideration of the results of all studies and analyses related to the proposed qualifying project. These procedures shall also include requirements for the disclosure of such analysis to the appropriating body for review prior to execution of an interim or comprehensive agreement;

6. Consideration of the nonfinancial benefits of a proposed qualifying project;

7. A mechanism for the appropriating body to review a proposed interim or comprehensive agreement prior to execution, which shall be in compliance with applicable law and the provisions of subsection I of § 56-575.4 pertaining to the approval of qualifying projects;

8. Establishment of criteria for (i) the creation of and the responsibilities of a public-private partnership oversight committee with members representing the responsible public entity and the appropriating body or (ii) compliance with the requirements of Chapter 42 (§ 30-278 et seq.) of Title 30. Such criteria shall include the scope, costs, and duration of the qualifying project, as well as whether the project involves or impacts multiple public entities. The oversight committee, if formed, shall be an advisory committee to review the terms of any proposed interim or comprehensive agreement;

9. Analysis of the adequacy of the information released when seeking competing proposals and providing for the enhancement of that information, if deemed necessary, to encourage competition pursuant to subsection G of § 56-575.4;

10. Establishment of criteria, key decision points, and approvals required to ensure that the responsible public entity considers the extent of competition before selecting proposals and negotiating an interim or comprehensive agreement; and

11. The posting and publishing of public notice of a private entity's request for approval of a qualifying project, including (i) specific information and documentation to be released regarding the nature, timing, and scope of the qualifying project pursuant to subsection A of § 56-575.4; (ii) a reasonable time period as determined by the responsible public entity to encourage competition and public-private partnerships in accordance with the goals of this chapter, such reasonable period not to be less than 45 days, during which time the responsible public entity shall receive competing proposals pursuant to subsection A of § 56-575.4; and (iii) a requirement for advertising the public notice in the Virginia Business Opportunities publication and posting a notice on the Commonwealth's electronic procurement website shall be included.

C. For a responsible public entity that is not an agency or institution of the Commonwealth the guidelines may include the provisions set forth in subsection B in the discretion of such public entity. However, the guidelines of a responsible public entity that is not an agency or institution of the Commonwealth shall include:

1. A requirement that it engage the services of qualified professionals, which may include an architect, professional engineer, or certified public accountant, not otherwise employed by the responsible public entity, to provide independent analysis regarding the specifics, advantages, disadvantages, and the long- and short-term costs of any request by a private entity for approval of a qualifying project unless the governing body of the responsible public entity determines that such analysis of a request by a private entity for approval of a qualifying project shall be performed by employees of the responsible public entity; and

2. A mechanism for the appropriating body to review a proposed interim or comprehensive agreement prior to execution.

2005, c. 865; 2007, c. 764.

§ 56-575.4. Approval of qualifying projects by the responsible public entity.

A. A private entity may request approval of a qualifying project by the responsible public entity. Any such request shall be accompanied by the following material and information unless waived by the responsible public entity:

1. A topographic map (1:2,000 or other appropriate scale) indicating the location of the qualifying project;

2. A description of the qualifying project, including the conceptual design of such facility or facilities or a conceptual plan for the provision of services or technology infrastructure, and a schedule for the initiation of and completion of the qualifying project to include the proposed major responsibilities and timeline for activities to be performed by both the public and private entity;

3. A statement setting forth the method by which the private entity proposes to secure necessary property interests required for the qualifying project;

4. Information relating to the current plans for development of facilities or technology infrastructure to be used by a public entity that are similar to the qualifying project being proposed by the private entity, if any, of each affected local jurisdiction;

5. A list of all permits and approvals required for the qualifying project from local, state, or federal agencies and a projected schedule for obtaining such permits and approvals;

6. A list of public utility facilities, if any, that will be crossed by the qualifying project and a statement of the plans of the private entity to accommodate such crossings;

7. A statement setting forth the private entity's general plans for financing the qualifying project including the sources of the private entity's funds and identification of any dedicated revenue source or proposed debt or equity investment on the behalf of the private entity;

8. The names and addresses of the persons who may be contacted for further information concerning the request;

9. User fees, lease payments, and other service payments over the term of the interim or comprehensive agreement pursuant to § 56-575.9 or 56-575.9:1 and the methodology and circumstances for changes to such user fees, lease payments, and other service payments over time; and

10. Such additional material and information as the responsible public entity may reasonably request.

B. The responsible public entity may request proposals or invite bids from private entities for the development or operation of qualifying projects.

C. The responsible public entity may grant approval of the development or operation of the education facility, technology infrastructure or other public infrastructure or government facility needed by a public entity as a qualifying project, or the design or equipping of a qualifying project so developed or operated, if the responsible public entity determines that the project serves the public purpose of this chapter. The responsible public entity may determine that the development or operation of the qualifying project as a qualifying project serves such public purpose if:

1. There is a public need for or benefit derived from the qualifying project of the type the private entity proposes as a qualifying project;

2. The estimated cost of the qualifying project is reasonable in relation to similar facilities; and

3. The private entity's plans will result in the timely development or operation of the qualifying project.

In evaluating any request, the responsible public entity may rely upon internal staff reports prepared by personnel familiar with the operation of similar facilities or the advice of outside advisors or consultants having relevant experience.

D. The responsible public entity may charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs of processing, reviewing and evaluating the request, including without limitation, reasonable attorney's fees and fees for financial, technical, and other necessary advisors or consultants.

E. The approval of the responsible public entity shall be subject to the private entity's entering into an interim or comprehensive agreement pursuant to § 56-575.9 with the responsible public entity.

F. In connection with its approval of the qualifying project, the responsible public entity shall establish a date for the commencement of activities related to the qualifying project. The responsible public entity may extend such date from time to time.

G. The responsible public entity shall take appropriate action to protect confidential and proprietary information provided by the private entity pursuant to an agreement under subdivision 11 of § 2.2-3705.6.

H. Nothing in this chapter or in an interim or comprehensive agreement entered into pursuant to this chapter shall be deemed to enlarge, diminish or affect the authority, if any, otherwise possessed by the responsible public entity to take action that would impact the debt capacity of the Commonwealth.

I. Prior to entering into the negotiation of an interim or comprehensive agreement, each responsible public entity that is an agency or institution of the Commonwealth shall submit copies of detailed proposals to the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Commission as provided by Chapter 42 (§ 30-278 et seq.) of Title 30.

J. Any proposed comprehensive agreement for a qualifying project where the responsible public entity is an agency or institution of the Commonwealth that (i) creates state tax-supported debt, (ii) requires a level of appropriation significantly beyond the appropriation received by the responsible public entity in the most recent appropriation act, or (iii) significantly alters the Commonwealth's discretion to change the level of services or the funding for such services over time, shall be reviewed by the appropriating body prior to execution.

2002, c. 571; 2003, c. 1034; 2004, c. 690; 2005, c. 865; 2007, c. 764.

§ 56-575.5. Service contracts.

In addition to any authority otherwise conferred by law, any public entity may contract with a private entity for the delivery of services to be provided as part of a qualifying project in exchange for such service payments and other consideration as such public entity may deem appropriate.

2002, c. 571; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.6. Affected local jurisdictions.

A. Any private entity requesting approval from, or submitting a proposal to, a responsible public entity under § 56-575.4 shall notify each affected local jurisdiction by furnishing a copy of its request or proposal to each affected local jurisdiction.

B. Each affected local jurisdiction that is not a responsible public entity for the respective qualifying project shall, within sixty days after receiving such notice, submit any comments it may have in writing on the proposed qualifying project to the responsible public entity and indicate whether the facility is compatible with the local comprehensive plan, local infrastructure development plans, the capital improvements budget, or other government spending plan. Such comments shall be given consideration by the responsible public entity prior to entering a comprehensive agreement pursuant to § 56-575.9 with a private entity.

2002, c. 571.

§ 56-575.7. Dedication of public property.

Any public entity may dedicate any property interest, including land, improvements, and tangible personal property, that it has for public use in a qualifying project if it finds that so doing will serve the public purpose of this chapter by minimizing the cost of a qualifying project to the public entity or reducing the delivery time of a qualifying project. In connection with such dedication, a public entity may convey any property interest that it has, subject to the conditions imposed by general law governing such conveyances, to the private entity subject to the provisions of this chapter, for such consideration as such public entity may determine. The aforementioned consideration may include, without limitation, the agreement of the private entity to develop or operate the qualifying project. The property interests that the public entity may convey to the private entity in connection with a dedication under this section may include licenses, franchises, easements, or any other right or interest the public entity deems appropriate.

2002, c. 571; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.8. Powers and duties of the private entity.

A. The private entity shall have all power allowed by law generally to a private entity having the same form of organization as the private entity and shall have the power to develop or operate the qualifying project and collect lease payments, impose user fees or enter into service contracts in connection with the use thereof.

B. The private entity may own, lease or acquire any other right to use or operate the qualifying project.

C. Any financing of the qualifying project may be in such amounts and upon such terms and conditions as may be determined by the private entity. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the private entity may issue debt, equity or other securities or obligations, enter into sale and leaseback transactions and secure any financing with a pledge of, security interest in, or lien on, any or all of its property, including all of its property interests in the qualifying project.

D. In operating the qualifying project, the private entity may:

1. Make classifications according to reasonable categories for assessment of user fees; and

2. With the consent of the responsible public entity, make and enforce reasonable rules to the same extent that the responsible public entity may make and enforce rules with respect to similar facilities.

E. The private entity shall:

1. Develop or operate the qualifying project in a manner that is acceptable to the responsible public entity, all in accordance with the provisions of the interim or comprehensive agreement pursuant to § 56-575.9 or 56-575.9:1;

2. Keep the qualifying project open for use by the members of the public at all times, or as appropriate based upon the use of the facility, after its initial opening upon payment of the applicable user fees, lease payments, or service payments; provided that the qualifying project may be temporarily closed because of emergencies or, with the consent of the responsible public entity, to protect the safety of the public or for reasonable construction or maintenance activities. In the event that a qualifying project is technology infrastructure, access may be limited as determined by the conditions of the interim or comprehensive agreement;

3. Maintain, or provide by contract for the maintenance or upgrade of the qualifying project, if required by the interim or comprehensive agreement;

4. Cooperate with the responsible public entity in making best efforts to establish any interconnection with the qualifying project requested by the responsible public entity; and

5. Comply with the provisions of the interim or comprehensive agreement and any lease or service contract.

F. Nothing shall prohibit an private entity of a qualifying project from providing additional services for the qualifying project to public or private entities other than the responsible public entity so long as the provision of additional service does not impair the private entity's ability to meet its commitments to the responsible public entity pursuant to the interim or comprehensive agreement as provided for in § 56-575.9 or 56-575.9:1.

2002, c. 571; 2003, c. 1034; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.9. Comprehensive agreement.

A. Prior to developing or operating the qualifying project, the private entity shall enter into a comprehensive agreement with the responsible public entity. The comprehensive agreement shall provide for:

1. Delivery of maintenance, performance and payment bonds, letters of credit in connection with the development or operation of the qualifying project, in the forms and amounts satisfactory to the responsible public entity and in compliance with § 2.2-4337 for those components of the qualifying project that involve construction;

2. Review of plans and specifications for the qualifying project by the responsible public entity and approval by the responsible public entity if the plans and specifications conform to standards acceptable to the responsible public entity. This shall not be construed as requiring the private entity to complete design of a qualifying project prior to the execution of a comprehensive agreement;

3. Inspection of the qualifying project by the responsible public entity to ensure that the private entity's activities are acceptable to the responsible public entity in accordance with the provisions of the comprehensive agreement;

4. Maintenance of a policy or policies of public liability insurance (copies of which shall be filed with the responsible public entity accompanied by proofs of coverage) or self-insurance, each in form and amount satisfactory to the responsible public entity and reasonably sufficient to insure coverage of tort liability to the public and employees and to enable the continued operation of the qualifying project;

5. Monitoring of the practices of the private entity by the responsible public entity to ensure that the qualifying project is properly maintained;

6. Reimbursement to be paid to the responsible public entity for services provided by the responsible public entity;

7. Filing of appropriate financial statements on a periodic basis; and

8. Policies and procedures governing the rights and responsibilities of the responsible public entity and the private entity in the event the comprehensive agreement is terminated or there is a material default by the private entity. Such policies and guidelines shall include conditions governing assumption of the duties and responsibilities of the private entity by the responsible public entity and the transfer or purchase of property or other interests of the private entity by the responsible public entity.

B. The comprehensive agreement shall provide for such user fees, lease payments, or service payments as may be established from time to time by agreement of the parties. A copy of any service contract shall be filed with the responsible public entity. In negotiating user fees under this section, the parties shall establish payments or fees that are the same for persons using the facility under like conditions and that will not materially discourage use of the qualifying project. The execution of the comprehensive agreement or any amendment thereto shall constitute conclusive evidence that the user fees, lease payments, or service payments provided for comply with this chapter. User fees or lease payments established in the comprehensive agreement as a source of revenues may be in addition to, or in lieu of, service payments.

C. In the comprehensive agreement, the responsible public entity may agree to make grants or loans to the private entity from time to time from amounts received from the federal, state, or local government or any agency or instrumentality thereof.

D. The comprehensive agreement shall incorporate the duties of the private entity under this chapter and may contain such other terms and conditions that the responsible public entity determines serve the public purpose of this chapter. Without limitation, the comprehensive agreement may contain provisions under which the responsible public entity agrees to provide notice of default and cure rights for the benefit of the private entity and the persons specified therein as providing financing for the qualifying project. The comprehensive agreement may contain such other lawful terms and conditions to which the private entity and the responsible public entity mutually agree, including, without limitation, provisions regarding unavoidable delays or provisions providing for a loan of public funds to the private entity to develop or operate one or more qualifying projects. The comprehensive agreement may also contain provisions where the authority and duties of the private entity under this chapter shall cease, and the qualifying project is dedicated to the responsible public entity or, if the qualifying project was initially dedicated by an affected local jurisdiction, to such affected local jurisdiction for public use.

E. Any changes in the terms of the comprehensive agreement, as may be agreed upon by the parties from time to time, shall be added to the comprehensive agreement by written amendment.

F. When a responsible public entity that is not an agency or authority of the Commonwealth enters into a comprehensive agreement pursuant to this chapter, it shall within 30 days thereafter submit a copy of the comprehensive agreement to the Auditor of Public Accounts.

G. The comprehensive agreement may provide for the development or operation of phases or segments of the qualifying project.

2002, c. 571; 2003, c. 1034; 2004, c. 986; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.9:1. Interim agreement.

Prior to or in connection with the negotiation of the comprehensive agreement, the responsible public entity may enter into an interim agreement with the private entity proposing the development or operation of the qualifying project. Such interim agreement may (i) permit the private entity to commence activities for which it may be compensated relating to the proposed qualifying project, including, but not limited to, project planning and development, design and engineering, environmental analysis and mitigation, survey, and ascertaining the availability of financing for the proposed facility or facilities; (ii) establish the process and timing of the negotiation of the comprehensive agreement; and (iii) contain any other provisions related to any aspect of the development or operation of a qualifying project that the parties may deem appropriate.

2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.10. Federal, state and local assistance.

A. Any financing of a qualifying facility may be in such amounts and upon such terms and conditions as may be determined by the parties to the interim or comprehensive agreement. Without limiting the generality of the terms and conditions of the financing, the private entity and the responsible public entity may propose to utilize any and all funding resources that may be available to them and may, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, issue debt, equity, or other securities or obligations, enter into leases, access any designated trust funds, borrow or accept grants from any state infrastructure bank, and secure any financing with a pledge of, security interest in, or lien on, any or all of its property, including all of its property interests in the qualifying facility.

B. The responsible public entity may take any action to obtain federal, state, or local assistance for a qualifying project that serves the public purpose of this chapter and may enter into any contracts required to receive such assistance. If the responsible public entity is a state agency, any funds received from the state or federal government or any agency or instrumentality thereof shall be subject to appropriation by the General Assembly. The responsible public entity may determine that it serves the public purpose of this chapter for all or any portion of the costs of a qualifying project to be paid, directly or indirectly, from the proceeds of a grant or loan made by the local, state, or federal government or any agency or instrumentality thereof.

2002, c. 571; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.11. Material default; remedies.

A. In the event of a material default by the private entity, the responsible public entity may elect to assume the responsibilities and duties of the private entity of the qualifying project, and in such case, it shall succeed to all of the right, title and interest in such qualifying project, subject to any liens on revenues previously granted by the private entity to any person providing financing thereof.

B. Any responsible public entity having the power of condemnation under state law may exercise such power of condemnation to acquire the qualifying project in the event of a material default by the private entity. Any person who has provided financing for the qualifying project, and the private entity, to the extent of its capital investment, may participate in the condemnation proceedings with the standing of a property owner.

C. The responsible public entity may terminate, with cause, the interim or comprehensive agreement and exercise any other rights and remedies that may be available to it at law or in equity.

D. The responsible public entity may make or cause to be made any appropriate claims under the maintenance, performance, or payment bonds; or lines of credit required by subsection A 1 of § 56-575.9.

E. In the event the responsible public entity elects to take over a qualifying project pursuant to subsection A, the responsible public entity may develop or operate the qualifying project, impose user fees, impose and collect lease payments for the use thereof and comply with any service contracts as if it were the private entity. Any revenues that are subject to a lien shall be collected for the benefit of and paid to secured parties, as their interests may appear, to the extent necessary to satisfy the private entity's obligations to secured parties, including the maintenance of reserves. Such liens shall be correspondingly reduced and, when paid off, released. Before any payments to, or for the benefit of, secured parties, the responsible public entity may use revenues to pay current operation and maintenance costs of the qualifying project, including compensation to the responsible public entity for its services in operating and maintaining the qualifying project. The right to receive such payment, if any, shall be considered just compensation for the qualifying project. The full faith and credit of the responsible public entity shall not be pledged to secure any financing of the private entity by the election to take over the qualifying project. Assumption of operation of the qualifying project shall not obligate the responsible public entity to pay any obligation of the private entity from sources other than revenues.

2002, c. 571; 2003, c. 1034; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.12. Condemnation.

At the request of the private entity, the responsible public entity may exercise any power of condemnation that it has under law for the purpose of acquiring any lands or estates or interests therein to the extent that the responsible public entity finds that such action serves the public purpose of this chapter. Any amounts to be paid in any such condemnation proceeding shall be paid by the private entity.

2002, c. 571; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.13. Utility crossing.

The private entity and each public service company, public utility, railroad, and cable television provider, whose facilities are to be crossed or affected shall cooperate fully with the other entity in planning and arranging the manner of the crossing or relocation of the facilities. Any such entity possessing the power of condemnation is hereby expressly granted such powers in connection with the moving or relocation of facilities to be crossed by the qualifying project or that must be relocated to the extent that such moving or relocation is made necessary or desirable by construction of, renovation to, or improvements to the qualifying project, which shall be construed to include construction of, renovation to, or improvements to temporary facilities for the purpose of providing service during the period of construction or improvement. Any amount to be paid for such crossing, construction, moving or relocating of facilities shall be paid for by the private entity. Should the private entity and any such public service company, public utility, railroad, and cable television provider not be able to agree upon a plan for the crossing or relocation, the Commission may determine the manner in which the crossing or relocation is to be accomplished and any damages due arising out of the crossing or relocation. The Commission may employ expert engineers who shall examine the location and plans for such crossing or relocation, hear any objections and consider modifications, and make a recommendation to the Commission. In such a case, the cost of the experts is to be borne by the private entity. Such determination shall be made by the Commission within ninety days of notification by the private entity that the qualifying project will cross utilities subject to the Commission's jurisdiction.

2002, c. 571; 2005, c. 865.

§ 56-575.14. Police powers; violations of law.

All police officers of the Commonwealth and of each affected local jurisdiction shall have the same powers and jurisdiction within the limits of such qualifying project as they have in their respective areas of jurisdiction and such police officers shall have access to the qualifying project at any time for the purpose of exercising such powers and jurisdiction.

2002, c. 571.

§ 56-575.15. Sovereign immunity.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as or deemed a waiver of the sovereign immunity of the Commonwealth, any responsible public entity or any affected local jurisdiction or any officer or employee thereof with respect to the participation in, or approval of all or any part of the qualifying project or its operation, including but not limited to interconnection of the qualifying project with any other infrastructure or project. Counties, cities and towns in which a qualifying project is located shall possess sovereign immunity with respect to its design, construction, and operation.

2002, c. 571.

§ 56-575.16. Procurement.

The Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.) and any interpretations, regulations, or guidelines of the Division of Engineering and Buildings of the Department of General Services or the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, including the Capital Outlay Manual and those interpretations, regulations or guidelines developed pursuant to §§ 2.2-1131, 2.2-1132, 2.2-1133, 2.2-1149, and 2.2-1502, except those developed by the Division or the Virginia Information Technologies Agency in accordance with this chapter when the Commonwealth is the responsible public entity, shall not apply to this chapter. However, a responsible public entity may enter into a comprehensive agreement only in accordance with guidelines adopted by it as follows:

1. A responsible public entity may enter into a comprehensive agreement in accordance with guidelines adopted by it that are consistent with procurement through competitive sealed bidding as set forth in § 2.2-4302.1 and subsection B of § 2.2-4310.

2. A responsible public entity may enter into a comprehensive agreement in accordance with guidelines adopted by it that are consistent with the procurement of "other than professional services" through competitive negotiation as set forth in § 2.2-4302.2 and subsection B of § 2.2-4310. Such responsible public entity shall not be required to select the proposal with the lowest price offer, but may consider price as one factor in evaluating the proposals received. Other factors that may be considered include (i) the proposed cost of the qualifying facility; (ii) the general reputation, industry experience, and financial capacity of the private entity; (iii) the proposed design of the qualifying project; (iv) the eligibility of the facility for accelerated selection, review, and documentation timelines under the responsible public entity's guidelines; (v) local citizen and government comments; (vi) benefits to the public; (vii) the private entity's compliance with a minority business enterprise participation plan or good faith effort to comply with the goals of such plan; (viii) the private entity's plans to employ local contractors and residents; and (ix) other criteria that the responsible public entity deems appropriate.

A responsible public entity shall proceed in accordance with the guidelines adopted by it pursuant to subdivision 1 unless it determines that proceeding in accordance with the guidelines adopted by it pursuant to this subdivision is likely to be advantageous to the responsible public entity and the public, based on (i) the probable scope, complexity, or priority of the project; (ii) risk sharing including guaranteed cost or completion guarantees, added value or debt or equity investments proposed by the private entity; or (iii) an increase in funding, dedicated revenue source or other economic benefit that would not otherwise be available. When the responsible public entity determines to proceed according to the guidelines adopted by it pursuant to this subdivision, it shall state the reasons for its determination in writing. If a state agency is the responsible public entity, the approval of the responsible Governor's Secretary, or the Governor, shall be required before the responsible public entity may enter into a comprehensive agreement pursuant to this subdivision.

3. Nothing in this chapter shall authorize or require that a responsible public entity obtain professional services through any process except in accordance with guidelines adopted by it that are consistent with the procurement of "professional services" through competitive negotiation as set forth in § 2.2-4302.2 and subsection B of § 2.2-4310.

4. A responsible public entity shall not proceed to consider any request by a private entity for approval of a qualifying project until the responsible public entity has adopted and made publicly available guidelines pursuant to § 56-575.3:1 that are sufficient to enable the responsible public entity to comply with this chapter.

5. A responsible public entity that is a school board or a county, city, or town may enter into an interim or comprehensive agreement under this chapter only with the approval of the local governing body.

2002, c. 571; 2003, cc. 292, 968, 1034; 2004, c. 986; 2005, c. 865; 2006, c. 936; 2007, c. 764; 2013, c. 583.

§ 56-575.17. Posting of conceptual proposals; public comment; public access to procurement records.

A. Conceptual proposals submitted in accordance with subsection A or B of § 56-575.4 to a responsible public entity shall be posted by the responsible public entity within 10 working days after acceptance of such proposals as follows:

1. For responsible public entities that are state agencies, authorities, departments, institutions, and other units of state government, posting shall be on the Department of General Services' centralized electronic procurement website; and

2. For responsible public entities that are local bodies, posting shall be on the responsible public entity's website or on the Department of General Services' central electronic procurement website. In addition, such public bodies may publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the contract is to be performed a summary of the proposals and the location where copies of the proposals are available for public inspection. Such local public bodies are encouraged to utilize the Department of General Services' central electronic procurement website to provide the public with centralized visibility and access to the Commonwealth's procurement opportunities.

In addition to the posting requirements, at least one copy of the proposals shall be made available for public inspection. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the posting of the conceptual proposals by additional means deemed appropriate by the responsible public entity so as to provide maximum notice to the public of the opportunity to inspect the proposals. Trade secrets, financial records, or other records of the private entity excluded from disclosure under the provisions of subdivision 11 of § 2.2-3705.6 shall not be required to be posted, except as otherwise agreed to by the responsible public entity and the private entity.

B. The responsible public entity shall hold a public hearing on the proposals during the proposal review process, but not later than 30 days prior to entering into an interim or comprehensive agreement.

C. Once the negotiation phase for the development of an interim or a comprehensive agreement is complete, but before an interim agreement or a comprehensive agreement is entered into, a responsible public entity shall make available the proposed agreement in a manner provided in subsection A.

D. Once an interim agreement or a comprehensive agreement has been entered into, a responsible public entity shall make procurement records available for public inspection, upon request. For the purposes of this subsection, procurement records shall not be interpreted to include (i) trade secrets of the private entity as defined in the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (§ 59.1-336 et seq.) or (ii) financial records, including balance sheets or financial statements of the private entity that are not generally available to the public through regulatory disclosure or otherwise.

E. Cost estimates relating to a proposed procurement transaction prepared by or for a responsible public entity shall not be open to public inspection.

F. Any inspection of procurement transaction records under this section shall be subject to reasonable restrictions to ensure the security and integrity of the records.

G. The provisions of this section shall apply to accepted proposals regardless of whether the process of bargaining will result in an interim or a comprehensive agreement.

2006, c. 936; 2008, c. 667; 2009, c. 762; 2011, c. 332.

§ 56-575.17:1. Contributions and gifts; prohibition during approval process.

A. No private entity that has submitted a bid or proposal to a public entity that is an executive branch agency directly responsible to the Governor and is seeking to develop or operate a qualifying project pursuant to this chapter, and no individual who is an officer or director of such a private entity, shall knowingly provide a contribution, gift, or other item with a value greater than $50 or make an express or implied promise to make such a contribution or gift to the Governor, his political action committee, or the Governor's Secretaries, if the Secretary is responsible to the Governor for an executive branch agency with jurisdiction over the matters at issue, following the submission of a proposal under this chapter until the execution of a comprehensive agreement thereunder. The provisions of this section shall apply only for any proposal or an interim or comprehensive agreement where the stated or expected value of the contract is $5 million or more.

B. Any person who knowingly violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of $500 or up to two times the amount of the contribution or gift, whichever is greater. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall initiate civil proceedings to enforce the civil penalties. Any civil penalties collected shall be payable to the State Treasurer for deposit to the general fund.

2010, c. 732; 2011, c. 624.

§ 56-575.18. Auditor of Public Accounts.

The Auditor of Public Accounts shall periodically review interim and comprehensive agreements entered into pursuant to this chapter to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Copies of the agreements and supporting documents must be electronically filed with the Auditor of Public Accounts. Electronic agreements shall be made available in the online database maintained pursuant to § 30-133.

2007, c. 764; 2009, c. 762.

The Virginia General Assembly is offering access to the Code of Virginia on the Internet as a service to the public. We are unable to assist users of this service with legal questions nor respond to requests for legal advice or the application of the law to specific facts. Therefore, to understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.

The Code of Virginia online database excludes material copyrighted by the publisher, Michie, a division of Matthew Bender. Copyrighted material includes annotations and revisors' notes, which may be found in the print version of the Code of Virginia. Annotated print copies of the Code of Virginia are available in most Virginia public library systems, from LexisNexis (1-800-446-3410), and from West, a Thomson-Reuters business (1-800-344-5008).