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

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

The $309 million project designed to retrofit the city’s streetlights is the city’s first public-private (P3) partnership, as well as the largest streetlight retrofit project in the country using this type of funding model.

“We are very pleased to move forward with this major streetlight retrofit project that exemplifies Mayor Bowser’s commitment to a safer and stronger DC,” said DDOT Director Everett Lott. “It also sets up a government procurement model that increases cost savings and performance accountability, which we know are extremely important to every resident of the District.”

The DC Smart Street Lighting project will convert over 75,000 streetlights to LED technology with remote monitoring and control capabilities. LEDs direct light onto roads, sidewalks and pathways. The project will also reduce the energy consumption of streetlights by more than 50%, eliminating 38,000 tonnes 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 project financing, complete installation work within two years and manage all service operations for the duration of the 15-year contract. The district will pay IPDC over the term of the contract, less any performance-based deductions. The contract is structured so that the district reaps the benefits and improvements of the project without providing upfront capital funding.

The project agreement is now submitted to the DC Board for review and approval. Once approved, construction is expected to begin within seven months.

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