Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, infrastructure - maintainance


Rail transit, Public private partnerships, Procurement, North Jersey Rapid Rail, New Jersey, Design build construction, Case studies


New methods of contractor procurement and project development are evolving. From turnkey to the latest design-build-operate-maintain (DBOM) processes, this evolution focuses on reducing costs, shortening project duration, and better allocating risk among private and public participants. One of the newest developments in the evolving DBOM procurement process is described. The process is being developed and refined in several projects in New Jersey. This new approach is a major change in project initiation and motivation--a more bottom-up, decentralized project development and implementation process. Beginning as a public-private partnership bill (A-2560) in New Jersey's statehouse, as an effort to quickly advance a wide array of transportation initiatives, the new procurement process modified the state transportation statute to encourage more initiative and participation by the private sector in transportation projects. In consultation with private-sector interests, rail transit operators, and New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) leaders, the chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee crafted the bill. After approval by both houses and signature by the governor, the new statute was used to solicit project proposals. Various consortia responded, representing 13 initiatives, two of which are considered rail transit new starts. The North Jersey Rapid Rail (NJRR) proposal, as a case study, demonstrates how the bottom-up, "beyond DBOM" process is working. NJRR is an initiative of a consultant-contractor consortium working with two transit-dependent counties (Bergen and Passaic) and NJDOT. A freight railroad is part of the team. The initiative is a devolution of risk and responsibility to a more local level and a reversion to earlier private partnerships. During the first half of the 20th century, most of the rail transit infrastructure in North America was designed, built, operated, and maintained efficiently by private-sector consortia consisting of finance, transit operating, utility, and construction interests. From the vantage point of one millennium ending and a new one beginning, this research is retrospective as well as futuristic.