A proposal to construct part of the F-M Area Diversion Project through a public-private partnership is being studied by the Diversion Authority and the Corps of Engineers. The goal of the arrangement would be to complete the project faster, saving millions in taxpayer dollars, and reducing flood risk to the public and infrastructure sooner.
Under the proposed plan, the Diversion Authority would contract with a private company to build the channel portion of the Project while the Corps constructs the Southern Embankment of the Project through a traditional delivery. (See a map illustrating the plan)
“We have looked at all available federal and local options to fund this project to completion. We think this provides the most potential for saving money and time for implementing this project,” said Terry Williams, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager.
Saving Time and Money
A public-private partnership, also known as “P3″, is a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies. Congress authorized the P3 model for flood control projects earlier this year.
“One plan we’re looking at is called the ‘Split Delivery Plan’ in which the sponsors would contract for the design and construction of the Diversion and the Corps would design and contract for construction for the southern embankment and associated mitigation projects,” said Williams. “It makes sense to divide this project this way. They are separate pieces that can be built by separate entities at the same time.”
The P3 approach could also result in a more innovative Project. “If you pull in a private partner that builds a large piece of the project and finance that, and also have them operate and maintain the project, there’s room for innovation, and you can also do it quicker versus just contracting it traditionally,” said Williams. “You’re really expediting things, and you’re working with one contractor versus several,” said Williams.
Design Standards Remain the Same
The Corps of Engineers has advanced the design of the diversion channel and associated features. This information can be handed over to the contractor to finish development and begin construction.
Williams said design and construction standards will not be compromised, and the project will still be extremely safe and robust. “The Project would still have to meet or exceed design standards and environmental requirements,” said Williams.