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ARTBA Conference: California turns to private sector to fund roads projects

California has turned to private finance to save its $107bn (£69bn), 10 year transport programme from collapse.

Transport funds were stripped from California’s Department of Transportation (Caltrans) last year to help tackle the state’s £15bn budget deficit.

With the budget crisis continuing, Caltrans’ programme was set to come up £26bn short.

The crisis was so deep that the state overcame its objection to private finance and passed a bill making it legal.

Caltrans is now set to go out to tender next month with its first PFI project – the Presidio Parkway road scheme.

“We’ve got a new lease of life,” said Caltrans district director Kome Ajise.

“Enabling the bill gives us the opportunity to leverage private capital to begin to close some of the gaps.”

Caltrans now has nine PFI deals in the pipeline, including a £4.3bn deal to build four dedicated truck lanes on the I-710, a £5.8bn tunnel on the same highway and a £3.8bn deal to install 1,200km long network of managed lanes.

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