Washington DC DOT picks preferred bidder in city’s first public-private partnership

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The District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Office of Public-Private Partnerships (OP3) announced Wednesday that they had selected Plenary Infrastructure DC (PIDC) as the preferred bidder for the DC Smart Street Lighting project.

The $309 million project designed to modernize the city’s streetlights is the city’s first public-private partnership (P3), as well as being the nation’s largest urban streetlight modernization project using that type of funding model.

“We are very pleased to advance this major streetlight modernization project that exemplifies Mayor Bowser’s commitment for a safer, stronger DC,” said DDOT Director Everett Lott. “It also puts into effect a government procurement model that increases cost savings and performance accountability, both of which we know are incredibly important to every District resident.”

The DC Smart Street Lighting project will convert more than 75,000 streetlights to LED technology with remote monitoring and control capabilities. LEDs direct light onto roads, sidewalks, and trails. The project will also reduce streetlight energy consumption by more than 50 percent, eliminating 38,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Additionally, the project will add 239 wireless access points to expand the District’s broadband Wi-Fi network.

Using the P3 model, PIDC will provide financing for the project, complete the installation work within two years, and manage all service operations over the contract’s 15-year term. The District will pay PIDC over the life of the contract, minus any performance-based deductions. The contract is structured so that the District will reap the project’s benefits and improvements without providing the capital funding upfront.

The project agreement now goes to the DC Council for review and approval. Once approved, construction is expected to start within seven months.