Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
Chapter 18. Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995
3/2/2021

§ 33.2-1803. Approval by the responsible public entity.

A. The private entity may request approval by the responsible public entity. Any such request shall be accompanied by the following material and information unless waived by the responsible public entity in its guidelines or other instructions given, in writing, to the private entity with respect to the transportation facility or facilities that the private entity proposes to develop and/or operate as a qualifying transportation facility:

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

2. A description of the transportation facility or facilities, including the conceptual design of such facility or facilities and all proposed interconnections with other transportation facilities;

3. The proposed date for development and/or operation of the transportation facility or facilities along with an estimate of the life-cycle cost of the transportation facility as proposed;

4. A statement setting forth the method by which the private entity proposes to secure any property interests required for the transportation facility or facilities;

5. Information relating to the current transportation plans, if any, of each affected locality or public entity;

6. A list of all permits and approvals required for developing and/or operating improvements to the transportation facility or facilities from local, state, or federal agencies and a projected schedule for obtaining such permits and approvals;

7. A list of public utility's, locality's, or political subdivision's facilities, if any, that will be crossed by the transportation facility or facilities and a statement of the plans of the private entity to accommodate such crossings;

8. A statement setting forth the private entity's general plans for developing and/or operating the transportation facility or facilities, including identification of any revenue, public or private, or proposed debt or equity investment or concession proposed by the private entity;

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

10. Information on how the private entity's proposal will address the needs identified in the appropriate state, regional, or local transportation plan by improving safety, reducing congestion, increasing capacity, enhancing economic efficiency, or any combination thereof;

11. A statement of the risks, liabilities, and responsibilities to be transferred, assigned, or assumed by the private entity for the development and/or operation of the transportation facility, including revenue risk and operations and maintenance; and

12. Such additional material and information as the responsible public entity may reasonably request pursuant to its guidelines or other written instructions.

B. The responsible public entity may request proposals from private entities for the development and/or operation of transportation facilities subject to the following:

1. For transportation facilities where the Department of Transportation, the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, or the Department of Rail and Public Transportation is the responsible public entity, the Transportation Public-Private Partnership Steering Committee established pursuant to § 33.2-1803.2 has determined that moving forward with the development and/or operation of the facility pursuant to this article serves the best interest of the public.

2. A finding of public interest pursuant to § 33.2-1803.1 has been issued by the responsible public entity.

3. The responsible public entity shall not charge a fee to cover the costs of processing, reviewing, and evaluating proposals received in response to such requests.

C. The responsible public entity may grant approval of the development and/or operation of the transportation facility or facilities as a qualifying transportation facility if the responsible public entity determines that it is in the best interest of the public. The responsible public entity may determine that the development and/or operation of the transportation facility or facilities as a qualifying transportation facility serves the best interest of the public if:

1. The private entity can develop and/or operate the transportation facility or facilities with a public contribution amount that is less than the maximum public contribution determined pursuant to subsection A of § 33.2-1803.1:1 for transportation facilities where the Department of Transportation, the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, or the Department of Rail and Public Transportation is the responsible public entity;

2. There is a public need for the transportation facility or facilities the private entity proposes to develop and/or operate as a qualifying transportation facility and for transportation facilities where the Department of Transportation or the Department of Rail and Public Transportation is the responsible public entity, such facility or facilities meet a need included in the plan developed pursuant to § 33.2-353;

3. The plan for the development and/or operation of the transportation facility or facilities is anticipated to have significant benefits as determined pursuant to subdivision B 1 of § 33.2-1803.1;

4. The private entity's plans will result in the timely development and/or operation of the transportation facility or facilities or their more efficient operation; and

5. The risks, liabilities, and responsibilities transferred, assigned, or assumed by the private entity provide sufficient benefits to the public to not proceed with the development and/or operation of the transportation facility through other means of procurement available to the responsible public entity.

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 shall not enter into a comprehensive agreement unless the chief executive officer of the responsible public entity certifies in writing to the Governor and the General Assembly that:

1. The finding of public interest issued pursuant to § 33.2-1803.1 is still valid;

2. The transfer, assignment, and assumption of risks, liabilities, and permitting responsibilities and the mitigation of revenue risk by the private sector have not materially changed since the finding of public interest was issued pursuant to § 33.2-1803.1; and

3. The public contribution requested by the private entity does not exceed the maximum public contribution determined pursuant to subsection A of § 33.2-1803.1:1.

Changes to the project scope that do not impact the assignment of risks or liabilities or the mitigation of revenue risk shall not be considered material changes to the finding of public interest, provided that such changes were presented in a public meeting to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, other state board, or the governing body of a locality, as appropriate.

E. The responsible public entity may charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs of processing, reviewing, and evaluating the request submitted by a private entity pursuant to subsection A, including reasonable attorney fees and fees for financial and other necessary advisors or consultants. The responsible public entity shall also develop guidelines that establish the process for the acceptance and review of a proposal from a private entity pursuant to subsections A, B, C, and D. Such guidelines shall establish a specific schedule for review of the proposal by the responsible public entity, a process for alteration of that schedule by the responsible public entity if it deems that changes are necessary because of the scope or complexity of proposals it receives, the process for receipt and review of competing proposals, and the type and amount of information that is necessary for adequate review of proposals in each stage of review. For qualifying transportation facilities that have approved or pending state and federal environmental clearances, have secured significant right-of-way, have previously allocated significant state or federal funding, or exhibit other circumstances that could reasonably reduce the amount of time to develop and/or operate the qualifying transportation facility in accordance with the purpose of this chapter, the guidelines shall provide for a prioritized documentation, review, and selection process.

F. The approval of the responsible public entity shall be subject to the private entity's entering into an interim agreement or a comprehensive agreement with the responsible public entity. For any project with an estimated construction cost of over $50 million, the responsible public entity also shall require the private entity to pay the costs for an independent audit of any and all traffic and cost estimates associated with the private entity's proposal, as well as a review of all public costs and potential liabilities to which taxpayers could be exposed (including improvements to other transportation facilities that may be needed as a result of the proposal, failure by the private entity to reimburse the responsible public entity for services provided, and potential risk and liability in the event the private entity defaults on the comprehensive agreement or on bonds issued for the project). This independent audit shall be conducted by an independent consultant selected by the responsible public entity, and all such information from such review shall be fully disclosed.

G. In connection with its approval of the development and/or operation of the transportation facility or facilities as a qualifying transportation facility, the responsible public entity shall establish a date for the acquisition of or the beginning of construction of or improvements to the qualifying transportation facility. The responsible public entity may extend such date.

H. The responsible public entity shall take appropriate action, as more specifically set forth in its guidelines, to protect confidential and proprietary information provided by the private entity pursuant to an agreement under subdivision 11 of § 2.2-3705.6.

I. The responsible public entity may also apply for, execute, and/or endorse applications submitted by private entities to obtain federal credit assistance for qualifying projects developed and/or operated pursuant to this chapter.

1994, c. 855, § 56-560; 1995, c. 647; 2003, c. 289; 2005, cc. 504, 562; 2006, c. 922; 2008, c. 296; 2014, cc. 474, 805; 2015, c. 612; 2017, cc. 539, 551; 2020, cc. 1230, 1275.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.