The Maryland Board of Public Works voted to approve the Phase P3 Agreement for the New American Legion Bridge I-270 Traffic Relief Plan, clearing the way for predevelopment work to begin in collaboration with stakeholders and corridor communities prior to final design and construction.
Accelerate Maryland Partners LLC (AM Partners), led by global toll road developers Transurban and Macquarie Capital, were selected by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) as the Phase Developers in February 2021 to deliver 37 mi. of congestion-relieving Express Lanes, a new American Legion Bridge, transit improvements and new bicycle and pedestrian connections — all at no cost to Maryland taxpayers.
"We commend Maryland leaders for advancing this historic project — one that will deliver a smart, integrated transportation system that puts moving more people first," said Pierce Coffee, president Transurban North America. "By delivering more travel options, like free and faster trips for buses and carpoolers, travelers across Montgomery and Frederick counties will spend less time in traffic and more time doing what matters most to them, all while opening up Maryland's economy for long-term growth."
Phase 1 South of the New American Legion Bridge I-270 Traffic Relief Plan proposes to add two high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes from the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia, across the American Legion Bridge, and along I-270 to I-70 in Maryland. When completed, the new Express Lanes are expected to reduce system wide delays by up to 34 percent during peak travel periods and reduce congestion-related delays on local roads by seven percent. Phase 1 South also is expected to create an estimated 7,500 new jobs and deliver $3 billion in economic impact for Maryland.
"AM Partners will employ innovative technologies and leverage decades of experience in transportation infrastructure to deliver the future of transportation in Maryland," said Mark Bradshaw, head of Infrastructure Investment and Development at Macquarie Capital. "Our team's strategy is centered on collaboration and inclusion — forming deep community partnerships with small businesses, and minority, women and veteran-owned businesses to ensure opportunity is accessed across the project corridor."
Through an international competitive process, AM Partners was selected by Maryland for the team's demonstrated experience delivering complex, billion-dollar transportation solutions along some of the Greater Washington Area's most congested corridors. AM Partners' proposal features extensive commitments to local communities, including expanded transit services worth $300 million, $50 million in community grants over a 50-year agreement, an estimated $5 million for Vision Zero improvements during construction and enhanced water quality protections. The proposal also includes a comprehensive approach to local workforce development including partnerships with small businesses and minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses; union, non-union and local contractor involvement and engagement with local community organizations and educational institutions.
Approvals of AM Partner's Phase P3 Agreement enables a predevelopment work phase to begin, alongside Maryland's transportation agencies including MDOT, State Highway Administration and MDTA, to engage stakeholders and communities in the design of the project, ensuring impacts are minimized for residents, drivers and the environment. Predevelopment work will progress in coordination with the ongoing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.
AM Partners also is progressing a competitive solicitation for a design and construction partner and released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in late July to the design and construction industry. The proposal includes a commitment to incorporate local workforce development encouraging partnerships with small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses. Upcoming outreach events to engage interested small businesses, and minority, women and veteran-owned businesses or individuals on project opportunities will be announced shortly.
MDOT will seek approval by Maryland's BPW for a Section P3 Agreement for Phase 1 South, the first segment of the project to be constructed between the American Legion Bridge and I-370, in late 2022, followed by construction. The Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision under NEPA from the Federal Highway Administration will be completed prior to final BPW approvals of the Section P3 Agreement.
For more information, visit www.acceleratemarylandpartners.com/.
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