The Transportation Innovative Partnership (TIP) Program is a formal process for the state to evaluate transportation public/private partnership proposals and, if warranted, enter into partnerships agreements to develop transportation projects. The TIP Program was authorized by the legislature in 2005, a key element in the legislation that created the new public/private partnerships law.
An important element of the TIP Program is the Washington State Transportation Commission’s oversight role. The Commission is responsible for:
- creating the administrative rules for how the TIP program will be administered
- ensuring that the competitive process for receiving, scoring, and selecting proposals complies with all rules and regulations
- establishing expert review panels where warranted (such as high-cost projects)
- reviewing the terms of any proposed contracts and partnership agreements to insure that the state’s interest has been protected
- and, ultimately, approving or rejecting negotiated agreements.
WSDOT’s Transportation Partnerships Office is responsible for carrying out the administrative functions and responsibilities of the TIP Program. These tasks are more fully described in the TIP administrative rules, but generally include:
- preliminary research and development of potential public/private partnership projects
- selection of projects that WSDOT believes are good candidates for development (“solicited” projects, to be published in the TIP Program project registry)
- preparation of required legal notices and solicitation documents to be issued after review and approval by the Commission
- participation in reviewing proposals for feasibility; negotiating the terms of proposals and necessary agreements
- public involvement and community outreach
- and technical support during the Commission’s review and deliberations.
The TIP Program’s project review and approval process is depicted in this flow chart (pdf 10kb).
Not all transportation partnership projects must be developed under the TIP Program. In some instances, WSDOT has legal authority to enter into agreements with other public or private partners to develop transportation projects. Recent examples of public/private partnerships developed under other statutory powers include land leases with cellular phone companies, management of for-pay parking facilities, and retail restaurant and other commercial enterprises at ferry terminals.
Whether a public/private partnership project is best developed under the TIP Program or under other statutory authority depends on the size, nature and scope of the project and other laws, rules, and executive orders that could affect it.