The Virginia Pilot reports that there are a number of companies that have contacted the Virginia Port Authority regarding the possibility of submitting a competing proposal for the operation of the Virginia Ports. The deadline is July 27, 2009 and these competing proposals are not likely to surface much before then.
Once the deadline passes for the competing offers, an independent review panel will be appointed by Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer. The panel typically consists of state officials and local industry leaders. The panel will recommend a course of action to the Commonwealth Transportation Board. This time-tested process has previously been used to bring successful public-private partnerships to fruition in Virginia, such as the High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes now under construction on the Beltway in Northern Virginia and the completed Pocahontas Parkway.
I had predicted in my commentary that the interest in the ports would be high. The competition will prove to be an excellent opportunity for Virginia to consider its options and make the best deal for the commerce at the ports, and for the citizens and taxpayers of the Commonwealth.