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DOTD moves forward with design-build process for new Barksdale entrance

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The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development received four Statements of Qualifications for the Barksdale Air Force Base access project.

The Department received the responses last week in response to the Request for Qualifications issued on April 27 for the two design-build projects. The Request for Qualifications is a necessary step to move forward with the design-build process.

The Barksdale project will provide new access from I-20 directly into Barksdale AFB in Bossier City. The total estimate for both projects is between $175 and $228 million.

A majority of the funding for the design and construction will be provided by GARVEE bonds. This new model of project financing allows the state to repay the debt with federal highway funds the state receives each year. The debt will be paid over 12 years.

Significant financial contributions are being made by local governments and the metropolitan planning organization in the impacted areas of the state. Those making financial contributions for the Barksdale project include the City of Bossier, Bossier Parish, and Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments.

DOTD is also working on a separate project involving the construction of a new interchange on I-10 in Kenner at Loyola Drive to serve the new Louis Armstrong International Airport terminal currently under construction.

“There has been an outcry from the public for these projects and we are employing innovative means to deliver,” DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. said. “These projects, as well as others, would have been funded under the broadly supported gas tax proposal that the legislature did not pass last year. We can no longer wait while we lose our competitive edge. We are forced to use GARVEE Bonds, a tool used by 30 other states to pay for major improvements.”

Federal Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Bonds (GARVEE Bonds) allow the state to repay the debt with federal highway funds the state receives each year. With the support of Governor John Bel Edwards, DOTD pursued approval of the Louisiana Joint Transportation Committee to utilize the design-build contracting process, which can expedite project delivery by combing the design and construction phases. This approach also encourages private sector innovation. The recommendation to advertise and solicit for the two projects was approved on Jan. 31, 2018.

“As I have traveled the state and listened to citizens, there is a mandate for a better infrastructure system in Louisiana. We must use every tool possible and GARVEE bonds and accelerated procurement methods are helping to do that,” said Rep. Terry Landry, House Transportation Committee Chairman.

All of the projects are expected to receive final environmental clearance in late 2018. The department maximized time by using a simultaneous Request for Qualifications process for the projects with two separate but simultaneous Request for Proposals.

“I am elated at the response received by DOTD last week. It is a sign that with the proper funding our industry is willing and ready to build a first class infrastructure system in Louisiana,” said Senator Page Cortez, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman.

The responses will be assessed by an evaluation team and short lists of proposers will be produced from that process for each project. That short list of proposers will continue to participate in the procurement process by submitting a response to DOTD’s Request for Proposal, set to be issued this fall for Barksdale and early 2019 for Loyola.