The Elizabeth River Tunnels Project is being delivered as a public-private partnership (P3). A public-private transportation project is one in which a public agency partners with a private firm in planning, financing, constructing and/or operating a road, bridge or other facility to help offset the need for public allocations to fund the work.
In Virginia, the Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA) of 1995 authorizes state agencies and local governments to execute agreements with private firms to develop, construct and/or operate transportation facilities. The PPTA is not for all projects—only for ones that provide an innovative method of construction or financing that can deliver a project in a faster or less costly manner. Typically, these projects involve tolling or some other method for the private entity to recoup investment costs.