Program Update

The Corps of Engineers is excited to announce that the South Platte River & Tributaries (Adams & Denver Counties), Colorado, Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Risk Management project has been identified as the Corps 4th pilot project. The Corps is working closely with the City and County of Denver to finalize implementation of a locally led delivery approach for the entire project. The Corps will be taking an innovative approach with Section 204 and providing the City and County of Denver with reimbursements for work as it is completed. This will be the Corps first use of Section 204 in this scenario. This alternative delivery approach is expected to result in a savings of roughly $121-194 million and is anticipated to be delivered two-five years ahead of a traditionally delivered project.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works Public Private Partnerships Pilot Program

Public private partnerships (P3s) are a tool that can accelerate delivery by providing significant upfront funding, leveraging appropriations while optimizing local participation, and promoting risk sharing in project delivery.  Utilizing P3s can streamline delivery, share risk, and provide significant life-cycle cost savings.   The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works has directed USACE to establish a P3 pilot program with the goal of demonstrating the viability of new delivery methods that significantly reduce the cost and duration of project delivery.

P3 implementation can minimize impacts from delay or deferment of Civil Works Funding.  A recent publication from the Institute for Water Resources found that:  “Costs associated with extended project durations ranged from a few percent to as much as 40 percent of the total project placement cost.  On a per-year or annualized basis, this cost increase ranged from 1 to 3.5 percent, with an average value of approximately 2.2 percent.”

Implementation of community based infrastructure using P3 delivery can minimize these funding impacts and help to reduce projects costs.  In 5-years of traditional delivery a project could realize cost growth of 17.5% above inflation.

Visit the following link to read the Institute for Water Resources publication mentioned above:

The Director of Civil Works signed implementation guidance for the P3 pilot program in January 2019.  USACE is to identify up to ten additional P3 pilot projects and provide guidance on the screening and selection criteria, as well as how the USACE Civil Works budget should be allocated to P3 projects.  USACE P3 policy encourages innovation and can be an important delivery tool for USACE and project sponsors.  USACE is pursuing a public private partnership (P3) pilot program to accelerate project delivery in a constrained fiscal environment.  The P3 pilot program is part of the Revolutionize USACE Civil Works initiative to expedite delivery of our nation's infrastructure by synchronizing actions, developing new tools, and streamlining activities.

Nominate Projects Today!

USACE Civil Works is inviting input on conceptual P3 delivery of specific USACE Civil Works projects. Project nominations can be submitted at any time. Nominations will be accepted on USACE authorized or likely to be authorized projects. Additional information can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions and Additional Resources sections below.

On April 29, 2020, USACE hosted a P3 webinar to provide more information on how to submit a conceptual P3 project. The webinar slides can be accessed here.

If you are interested in submitting a potential P3 project use the P3 project template here.

P3 Pilot Program Status

USACE has four (4) identified pilot projects.  More information about the projects is listed below. Each of these projects went through nomination, development and validation to explore how P3 delivery compared to traditional project delivery and to identify any obstacles to implementation the project as a P3.  The nomination, development and validation of these projects took 6-24 months depending on specific project details.

P3 Program Benefits

The USACE P3 pilot program has projected Federal savings of more than $450M and 23 years.

Under Construction

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 Brazos Island Harbor ("BIH") Channel Improvement Project, Texas: Project would deepen the Port of Brownsville ship channel from 42 feet to 52 feet in addition to dredging berthing areas, constructing dredged material placement area capacity, raising levees, and providing aids to navigation.

Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project Innovative Delivery Fact Sheet (updated 13 JUL 2022)  
  • The Port of Brownsville, working with the NextDecade Corporation, have selected a contractor to perform essential improvements to the Brownsville Ship Channel as part of Phase 1 of the P3 project. For more information, visit here.
  • Investment Size: $288M
  • Non-Federal Sponsor(s): Brownsville Navigation District, acting as the financial representative for the Port of Brownsville
  • P3 Elements: Design, Build, Finance, and possible Operate/Maintain
  • Contracting: Non-Federal
  • Non-federal Revenue Source(s): Private entities
  • Cost / Time Savings: $72M / Completion by 2024
  • Additional Authorities: None identified

Mr. Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Worked, signed the Project Partnership Agreement for the Brazos Island Harbor Navigation project.

BIH signing

Michael L. Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Esteban Guerra, Brownsville Navigation District Chairman, and Timothy Vail, Commander Colonel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District. From left to right second row: John Reed, Brownsville Navigation District Commissioner, David Keane, NextDecade Senior Vice President, Ralph Cowen, Brownsville Navigation District Vice Chairman and John Wood, Brownsville Navigation District Secretary, celebrate the signing of the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project at the Port of Brownsville on July 6, 2022.

“This crucial navigation project will execute funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, resulting in infrastructure that will ease supply chain issues, promote clean energy capabilities for the nation, and provide significant economic benefits to the region. This project is a public private partnership pilot using an innovative delivery approach to develop solutions that more efficiently deliver sustainable infrastructure.” – Lt. General Scott Spellmon, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General















 Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project:  Project is designed to protect the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo metro area during times of extreme flooding using river control structures, floodwalls, levees, and other flood protection measures.

Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project Fact Sheet  (updated 20 July 2021)
  • Investment Size:  $2.84B
  • Non-Federal Sponsor(s):  Metro Flood Diversion Authority; City of Fargo, North Dakota; and City of Moorhead, Minnesota
  • P3 Elements:  Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Maintain
  • Contracting:  Non-Federal
  • Non-Federal Revenue Source(s):  State Appropriations, Sales Taxes, and Assessment District
  • Cost / Time Savings:  $100M Federal / Completion by 2027
  • Additional Authorities:  None identified
  • Website:
  • Additional Information

Designated Pilot

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 Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Project: Ecosystem restoration project on the Los Angeles River, which includes water quality and recreation features. The proposed project spans 11 miles from the northern edge of Griffith Park to Downtown LA.

Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Project Fact Sheet (updated 30 MAR 2023)
  • Investment Size: $1.4B
  • Non-Federal Sponsor(s): City of Los Angeles
  • P3 Elements: Design, Build, Finance, Operate/Maintain
  • Contracting: Non-Federal; one contract for each of the three elements
  • Non-Federal Revenue Source(s): State, local and foundation grants; usage revenue; tax assessments; general funds
  • Cost / Time Savings: 33% Federal cost savings / 10-20 years earlier for each element
  • Additional Authorities: None Identified
 South Platte River & Tributaries (Adams & Denver Counties), Colorado, Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Risk Management

Denver South Platte Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Risk Management Fact Sheet (updated 8 NOV 2022)
  • Investment Size: $550M
  • Non-Federal Sponsor(s): City and County of Denver
  • P3 Elements: Design, Build, Adaptive Management
  • Contracting: Non-Federal; progressive contract
  • Non-Federal Revenue Source(s): Tax assessments, state funding, and grants
  • Cost / Time Savings: $121-194 million / 2 - 5 years
  • Additional Authorities: Using Section 204, reimbursement authority

Under Development and Validation

There are currently no projects under development and validation. Nominate your projects today!

Projects No Longer Under Consideration:

  • Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay
  • Soo Locks is no longer under consideration.  The submission has been withdrawn and is no longer considered for this program.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Q - Does the Corps have a list of unconstructed projects?

A - A list of authorized and unconstructed projects can be found here.  This list includes projects authorized by Congress that have not been completed, some are ongoing. Items in the "Purpose" column generally represent the following:  "E" - Environmental, "F" - Flood Risk Reduction and "N" - Navigation.  This list represents a snapshot in time, as of 3 May 2019, and is subject to change.

 Q - Are there any contractual interface arrangements needed for a “split” delivery between the team awarded the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) contract and the team delivering remaining scope?

A - Split delivery projects will typically have one portion of the project that is the responsibility of the non-Federal sponsor and one that is the responsibility of the Corps. The Corps will work with the non-federal sponsors to ensure that any connection points are fully coordinated. It is not expected that the Corps will have a contractual role in contracts issued by the non-Federal sponsors.  These arrangements between the Corps and non-federal sponsor are generally codified in the form of a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA), Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), or a similar formal agreement. 

 Q - Can a private sector developer be considered the non-federal partner on the P3?

A - Generally no, the non-federal partner will typically be a state or local government, a tribal national and, in some cases Non-governmental Organization (NGO). The private sector developer is generally selected via a competitive procurement process and will work under the authority of the non-federal sponsor.  

 Q - Is there a min/max limit to the length of time for the P3 concession?

A - P3 term limits are dependent on the local enabling legislation. As most P3 contracts will be procured at the state or local level, the maximum allowable term will be dependent on the jurisdiction in which the private partner is procured.

 Q - Can a state government generally be a non-federal partner?

A - Yes.

 Q - Is it correct to assume that USACE P3 projects are on Federal Lands?

A - No, in many cases the projects are entirely owned, operated, and maintained by local governments.

 Q - What type of projects are eligible? What about bridges?

A - The pilot program includes authorized water resources development projects for coastal harbor improvement, channel improvement, inland navigation, flood damage reduction, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and hurricane and storm damage reduction. With these authorized projects, there are a wide range of project elements, including bridges. The Corps has over 950 bridges that are associated with existing projects and could be considered under this program.

 Q - Can a water conservation project be eligible for P3?

A - If the project is authorized for Corps assistance, or is implemented in conjunction with an authorized project, such as ecosystem restoration, then a water conservation project may be eligible for the P3 pilot program.

 Q - When a project proposal is submitted would USACE evaluate the submission on its own merits and decide on viability of project as a good P3 candidate, or will it be subject to another level of competition with other candidates who want to pursue P3 opportunities or public competition?

A - The Corps will evaluate and determine whether the project is a viable candidate for the P3 program.  Once it has passed this initial screening phase, the Corps will identify the project as a pilot.  At this time, is not anticipated that individual project candidates will be subject to competition with other project candidates. 

 Q - Would flood resiliency efforts, like natural infrastructure, be eligible?

A - Yes, as long as the project is authorized to receive Corps assistance. 

 Q - Does the USACE have the ability to provide an annual availability payment?

A - At this time, federal budgetary scorekeeping rules, which are implemented primarily through Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-11,  mandate that in the case of availability payments, the entire federal obligation relating to a project be “scored” upfront in a single year at the time the contract is executed. This means that the totality of all future payments to the private sector must be fully appropriated at the time of contract execution, which for all practical purposes, renders these arrangements impractical.

 Q - What is the relationship of the P3 program to tribal nations - both in terms of possible tribal participation in P3 and in terms of federal responsibilities?

A - The Corps will maintain all government-to-government responsibilities as it would for all projects. Tribal nations are eligible to partner with the Corps on authorized projects and those projects would be eligible for consideration under the P3 program.

Stakeholder Webinars

On April 29, 2020, USACE hosted a P3 webinar to discuss the nomination process for conceptual P3 pilot projects. Webinar slides are here

Previously, USACE hosted stakeholder webinars in February 2019 to discuss the request for information related to conceptual P3 pilot projects (the slides for these webinars can be found here), and December 2018 to discuss the P3 pilot program (the slides for these webinars can be found here).


Questions on the USACE Civil Works P3 pilot program relevant to the USACE may be submitted electronically to: