Florida Department of Transportation Reaches Commercial and Financial Close on I-4 Ultimate Project

The Florida Department of Transportation reached commercial and financial close on the I-4 Ultimate Project in the urban Orlando area.  The $2.3 billion deal is the third transportation P3 project in Florida developed through an availability payment structure, and is the largest availability payment transaction ever undertaken in the United States.

FDOT entered into an agreement with I-4 Mobility Partners OpCo LLC, a consortium led by Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc. and John Laing Investments Limited.  The Concessionaire will design, construct, finance, maintain and operate the Project for 40 years.

The I-4 Ultimate Project involves reconstruction of 21 miles of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County.  Along with developing a signature corridor with aesthetics and landscaping to convey the “Florida Experience,” the Project will provide a choice to motorists by adding four variable tolled Express Lanes to I-4 while maintaining the existing free general use lanes.  The design phase of the Project will begin within the next month and FDOT anticipates construction will begin in early 2015.  Through the P3 delivery model, the Concessionaire was able to provide significant technical enhancements, including direct connections from the Express Lanes to SR 408, additional auxiliary lanes and an additional pedestrian bridge along the facility.

FDOT and the Concessionaire worked expeditiously toward financial close with lenders including a consortium of six commercial banks and the Federal Highway Administration through the TIFIA credit assistance program.  This allowed FDOT to benefit from the low interest rate environment which resulted in a $68.7 million (net present value in 2014 dollars) decrease when compared to the I-4 Mobility Partners financial proposal.  I-4 Mobility Partners invested $104 million in the Project and commercial banks and TIFIA are lending $486 million and $949 million, respectively, to the Project.  The TIFIA is the largest loan ever undertaken under the TIFIA program.

Moody's assigned a provisional Baa1 rating to Concessionaire’s senior construction bank loan, short term Tranche A TIFIA loans, and long term Tranche B TIFIA loans.  S&P assigned a preliminary BBB issue rating to the proposed construction loan facility and TIFIA loan.  An S&P Analyst, Dhaval Shah, noted that “[t]he rating reflects our view of the project's contractual structure, which appropriately allocates risk between the project and FDOT, and our assessment of the project's risks in completing construction on time and within budget, and in operating the project over the long-term concession.”

FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said: “This is a monumental milestone for one of the most congested corridors of the state, which draws millions of tourists and is an important mid-point in Florida for commerce and commuters.  The project gives us the opportunity to show how a successful Public-Private Partnership works, through construction and beyond, benefitting those who count on great infrastructure, which feeds a robust economy.”

Congressman Daniel Webster said the following regarding the benefit of structuring the I-4 Ultimate project as a P3 transaction: “Transportation is the economic engine that fuels Florida’s economy.  As a public private partnership, the I-4 Ultimate project will save hardworking taxpayers’ dollars while delivering the project nearly two decades sooner than could otherwise be expected. It will provide critical infrastructure that will enable us to continue to expand our business development, cultivate growth, and create jobs.  This is a big win for Central Florida.”

The FDOT press release can be found on the Project website.

Nossaman advised FDOT on the procurement, financing and contracts for the I-4 Ultimate Project.

Tae Yeon Do co-authored this post.

Port of Miami Tunnel Open for Traffic

On August 3, 2014, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Port of Miami achieved an important milestone when the est. $1 billion Port of Miami Tunnel opened for traffic.  The project consists of twin tunnels under Biscayne Bay linking Port facilities on Dodge Island with a widened MacArthur Causeway and I-395.  One of the first public-private partnerships in the United States to use an availability payment contracting structure, the tunnel improves access for freight trucks and cruise passengers, reducing traffic congestion in downtown Miami and improving air quality.

Under the concession agreement, FDOT made milestone payments to the concessionaire during the construction period, upon the achievement of contractual milestones.  With the operating period now underway, FDOT will make availability payments to the concessionaire, contingent upon lane availability and service quality. The project was awarded to a Concessionaire headed by Meridiam (approx. 90% equity) and Bouygues Construction (approximately 10% equity) and reached financial close in October, 2009, at the height of the recession following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  

In March, President Obama toured the construction site for the new tunnel while promoting a new initiative intended to encourage more projects like the Port of Miami Tunnel.  The president emphasized the important role of partnerships between public and private sectors as a part of the solution to the critical need to rebuild and upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges and ports. 

Financed with the combination of bank loans and a TIFIA loan, the project has received numerous awards, including The Bond Buyer’s 2010 “Nontraditional Financing Deal of the Year,” “Global Deal of the Year” and “P3 Deal of the Year” from Project Finance Magazine in 2009, Project Finance International’s 2009 “North American P3 Deal of the Year” and the 2007 “Project of the Year” by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
 

FDOT Announces Apparent Best Value Proposer for I-4 Managed Lanes Project

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced today that it has selected I-4 Mobility Partners as the apparent best value proposer to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the I-4 Ultimate project.  The I-4 Ultimate project contemplates a 40-year availability payment contract at a total design and construction cost of $2,323,000,000.00 in year of expenditure dollars.  This cost is approximately $860 million less than the highest proposal received by FDOT at $3,180,033,233.90 in year of expenditure dollars.  Commercial and financial close is expected to occur later this summer. 

The members of the I-4 Mobility Partners team include the following:

  • Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc. (Equity Member)
  • John Laing Investments Limited (Equity Member)
  • Construction Joint Venture – Skanska USA Civil Southeast Inc., Granite Construction Company, and the Lane Construction Corporation (Lead Contractor)
  • Design Joint Venture – HDR Engineering, Inc. and Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (Lead Engineer)
  • Infrastructure Corporation of America (Lead Operations and Maintenance firm)

The project includes the reconstruction of 21 miles of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County.  The I-4 Ultimate project adds four tolled express lanes to I-4 while maintaining the existing free general use lanes, providing a choice to motorists.  The express lanes will be operated with variable tolls which will be adjusted to improve traffic flow throughout the corridor.  FDOT will retain the toll revenue and will control the toll rates. 

The FDOT press release can be found on the project website.

Florida I-595 Express Lanes Open

On March 26, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) celebrated the grand opening of the $1.2 billion I-595 Express Corridor Improvements Project (Project) in Broward County, Florida.  The Project is the nation’s first Availability Payment public-private partnership and the first public-private highway deal in Florida.

The Project consists of the reconstruction of the I-595 mainline from the I-75/Sawgrass Expressway interchange to the I-595/I-95 interchange on I-595 and from Peters Road to Griffin Road on Florida's Turnpike, for a total project length of 13 miles.  The Project includes three reversible express, variable-toll lanes at grade in the median of the existing highway, from Interstate 95 to Interstate 75, a distance of approximately 10 miles.  

In March of 2009, FDOT signed the concession agreement with ACS Infrastructure Development Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Group ACS in Spain, to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the I-595 for 35 years.  Construction of the Project began in June 2009 and was completed in less than 5 years and ahead of schedule.
 
Some of the key milestones and achievements highlighted by FDOT are:
  • I-595 improvements completed over 15 years sooner than originally projected
  • Innovative design/build processes allowed for execution of the I-595 Project in record time
  • Less than 0.7% of the construction cost in scope changes
  • No time added to the contract
  • All project milestones achieved
  • Project of the Year Award in 2009 by the American Road & Transportation Builders’ Association (ARTBA) for outstanding contributions to the promotion of public private partnerships that advance transportation infrastructure improvements
  • Award of Excellence in Civil/Public Works in 2010 by Southeast Construction Magazine for partnering with three private golf courses for storm water treatment and saving millions of dollars in right of way acquisitions.
  • 2009 North American Transport Deal of the Year by Project Finance Magazine. 
Nossaman is proud to have served as FDOT’s outside legal advisor on this groundbreaking transaction.
 
For more information about the I-595, visit the project website.

FDOT Receives Financial Proposals from Four Teams for I-4 Ultimate Project

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced yesterday that it received four financial proposals in response to a Request for Proposals issued by FDOT on October 11, 2013 for the I-4 Ultimate Project.  On June 5, 2013, FDOT announced a shortlist of four proposers, all of whom submitted financial proposals yesterday and technical proposals on February 12, 2014 seeking the contract to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the project.

The estimated $2 billion project, which will be developed through a public-private partnership concession agreement, includes the reconstruction of 21 miles of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County.   The project adds four tolled express lanes to I-4 while maintaining the existing free general use lanes, providing a choice to motorists. 

FDOT received financial proposals from the following shortlisted teams (listed in the order received):

  1. Ultimate Mobility Partners (InfraRed Capital Partners Limited; Fluor Enterprises, Inc.; Kiewit Infrastructure South Co.);
  2. I-4 Mobility Partners (Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc.; John Laing Investments Limited);
  3. 4wardPartners (VINCI Concessions S.A.S.; Meridiam Infrastructure I-4 Ultimate, LLC; Walsh Investors, LLC); and
  4. I-4 Development Partners LLC (Macquarie Capital Group Limited; OHL Concesiones.A.; FCC Construccion S.A.).
FDOT is reviewing the financial proposals and technical proposals and expects to make final selection of a best value proposer at a public meeting on April 23, 2014.  
 
For further information, please visit the project website at www.moving-4-ward.com.  A more detailed list of each proposer team can be found under “Project Info/Docs” on the project website.

Shortlist Announced for FDOT I-4 Ultimate Project

On June 5, 2013, the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) announced the shortlist for the proposed I-4 Ultimate Project in Orange and Seminole Counties.

The Project includes the reconstruction of 21 miles of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County. The I-4 project adds four tolled express lanes to I-4 while maintaining the existing free general use lanes.

The shortlisted teams were selected based on qualification statements submitted on April 19, 2013 in response to the request for qualifications (“RFQ”) issued by FDOT on March 8, 2013.

The four shortlisted teams and their respective members are:

4wardPartners

  • VINCI Concessions S.A.S.
  • Meridiam Infrastructure I-4 Ultimate, LLC
  • Walsh Investors, LLC

I-4 Development Partners LLC

  • Macquarie Capital Group Limited
  • OHL Concesiones S.A.
  • FCC Construccion S.A.

I-4 Mobility Partners

  • Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc.
  • John Laing Investments Limited

Ultimate Mobility Partners

  • InfraRed Capital Partners Limited
  • Fluor Enterprises, Inc.
  • Kiewit Infrastructure South Co.

A press release may be found at the I-4 Ultimate Project website.

FDOT Receives SOQs for I-4 Ultimate Project

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced on April 19, 2013 that it accepted Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from seven proposers in response to a Request for Qualifications for the I-4 Ultimate Project.  The list of proposer teams may be found at the I-4 Ultimate Project website.

The project involves the reconstruction of over 21 miles of I-4 in Orange and Seminole Counties, including 19 major interchanges, 56 new bridges and 71 bridge replacements, and the addition of two managed toll lanes in each direction.  The estimated cost of the project is approximately $2.1 billion. 
 
The I-4 is often considered the backbone of surface transportation in Central Florida.  It provides a crucial link between Tampa on the west coast and Daytona Beach on the east coast, as well as serving the Orlando Metro area, one of the world's most popular travel destinations.  The I-4 Ultimate Project seeks to alleviate congestion by adding managed lanes and improving access to and from the interstate. 
 
The project is being procured as a public-private partnership, through an anticipated 40-year design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) concession agreement.   The Concessionaire will receive availability payments throughout the operating period, and FDOT assumes the traffic revenue risk.  This is only the fifth highway P3 in the United States to adopt an availability payment structure.
 
Next month, FDOT is expected to short-list at least three and as many four proposers, who will have the opportunity to submit their proposals in early 2014.   The successful proposer is anticipated to be selected in the spring of 2014. 

Florida Department of Transportation Issues Request for Qualifications for the I-4 Ultimate Project

On March 12, 2013, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) issued a press release regarding their publication of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) soliciting statements of qualifications from prospective private entities for development and implementation of a public-private partnership for the $2 billion+ Orlando-area project.  FDOT is seeking a private firm that is experienced in designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining both general use and managed lane roadways.   

The I-4 Ultimate Project will be structured as an availability payment transaction.  The project includes the reconstruction of 21 miles of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County and adds four tolled Express Lanes to I-4 while maintaining the existing free general use lanes.  As currently contemplated by FDOT, the project includes reconstruction of 15 interchanges, 56 new bridges and 68 bridge replacements.   

The release of the RFQ follows the industry forum held on March 4, 2013 which had over 1,200 industry participants in attendance.  Statements of qualifications are due on March 29, 2013. 

DBIA Announces the 2013 Design-Build in Transportation Leadership Awards

The Design-Build Institute of America announced today the 2013 Design-Build in Transportation Awards, which will be presented on March 19, 2013 at the 2013 Design-Build in Transportation Conference in Orlando, Florida.

The California Department of Transportation was named 2013 Transportation Owner Agency of the Year.  Caltrans has made great strides with design-build recently through its Design-Build Demonstration Program.  Caltrans also reached financial close this year on its high profile Presidio Parkway project, which will use the design-build-finance-operate and maintain, or availability payment, delivery method.

Ananth Prasad, the Florida Secretary of Transportation, will be honored with the 2013 Transportation Owner Award.  Mr. Prasad is an advocate for alternative delivery methods, and in 2012 alone FDOT awarded over 59 design-build contracts.  Florida is also a leader in innovative financing of transportation projects, with both the Port of Miami Tunnel and the I-595 Express Lanes being delivered as availability payment projects.

Roger A. Johnson is another individual awarded the 2013 Transportation Award.  He is the Deputy Director of Los Angeles World Airports.  He is currently overseeing two design-build projects valued at over $570 million at Los Angeles International Airport.  LAWA is planning an additional $1 billion worth of design-build projects as part of its modernization of the airport.

Finally, John Bourne of HNTB will be presented with the 2013 Transportation Practitioner Award.  Mr. Bourne was formerly the Deputy Director and then Director of the Utah Department of Transportation’s I-15 reconstruction program, a $1.6 billion design-build project.  Since joining HNTB he has been active in working with departments of transportation in states such as Minnesota, Texas, and Utah.  He recently served as HNTB’s project manager on the I-15 CORE project, a $1.1 billion fixed price/best design procurement.

The announcement can be found on the DBIA website.

Florida Department of Transportation Sets Date for I-4 Industry Forum

The Florida Department of Transportation has scheduled an industry forum for the I-4 Ultimate Project.  The forum will be held on March 4, 2013 to introduce this $2 billion+ Orlando-area project.  The project will add two managed lanes in each direction from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to the east of SR 434 in Seminole County, a distance of 21.1 miles.  As currently contemplated by FDOT, the project includes reconstruction of 15 interchanges, 56 new bridges and 68 bridge replacements and will be procured as a public-private partnership. 

The forum is intended for all those interested in participating in the development, design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the project.  The forum will include a series of presentations on the project scope, procurement timeline, procurement process, traffic and revenue, and financing information for the project.  One-on-one meetings for interested proposer teams are scheduled for March 5th and 6th.  The forum and the one-on-one meetings will be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, Florida.  FDOT has established a website for the project at: www.moving-4-ward.com for those seeking more information or to request a one-on-one meeting after the forum.

Florida Department of Transportation Closes $900 million Port of Miami Tunnel Project PPP

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), announced at a press conference in Miami today that it has reached financial close on the Port of Miami Tunnel Project

FDOT, in partnership with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami, entered into an agreement with MAT Concessionaire, LLC (MAT) which includes Meridiam Infrastructure Finance, S.a.r.l. and Bouygues Travaux Publics as equity members. The $900 million public-private partnership (PPP) deal uses an availability payment structure that provides for payment to MAT over 30 years after completion of construction, which is expected to occur in five years. This is the second transportation infrastructure project in the United States to use an availability payment structure, following the recently closed FDOT I-595 Corridor Improvements Project

Financing for the project includes a $341 million low-cost federal loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, equity contributions from MAT, and $330 million in loans from the following senior lenders:

  • BNP Paribas
  • Banco Bilbao Bizcaya Argentina
  • RBS Citizens
  • Banco Santander
  • Bayerische Hypo
  • Calyon, Dexia
  • ING Capital
  • Societe Generale
  • WestLB

The Port of Miami Tunnel will link the Port of Miami facilities on Dodge Island with MacArthur Causeway and I-395 via twin 42’ diameter tunnels under Biscayne Bay, increasing the Port’s competitiveness and relieving congestion in downtown Miami by diverting passenger and freight traffic to I-395 and improving access to I-95. The project also includes widening of MacArthur Causeway and other roadway improvements.

Bouygues Civil Works Florida, Inc. will design and construct the project with engineering assistance from Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. VMS, Inc. will serve as the lead operations and maintenance contractor. In addition to Nossaman, FDOT’s advisors include Jeffrey Parker & Associates (financial), Parsons Brinkerhoff and T.Y. Lin (technical), and Marsh (insurance).

FDOT I-595 Project Helps Sweep ARTBA PPV Awards

The Florida Department of Transportation’s I-595 project and its public and private partners won several awards at this year’s American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) P3 conference. “It’s pretty much a Florida sweep,” declared Pamela Bailey-Campbell, ARTBA Public Private Ventures Division president, as she announced the recipients of the Project, Public Sector Entrepreneur, and Private Sector Entrepreneur of 2009.ARTBA PPV awards luncheon

Bailey-Campbell announced three awards at the September 25 award luncheon in Washington D.C. The I-595 project in Fort Lauderdale, Florida received the Project of the Year award. ARTBA called the project, which achieved commercial and financial close in March of this year, a seminal project in public-private partnerships because it is the first availability payment concession highway project in the United States. FDOT Secretary Stephanie C. Kopelousos accepted the award on behalf of the department.

The Public Sector Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Gerry O’Reilly, Director of Transportation Development of FDOT District Four. Secretary Kopelousos credited Mr. O’Reilly - who led the FDOT team on the I-595 project - as the primary individual responsible for the project’s success.

The Private Sector Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Juan Santamaria, Chief Operating Officer of ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc. Mr. Santamaria was the lead representative and negotiator of the I-595 concessionaire team. In accepting the award, Mr. Santamaria thanked ARTBA for being a leading voice and organization in the PPP industry.

Nossaman served as legal advisor to FDOT on the I-595. Jeffrey Parker served as financial advisor and RS&H served as technical advisor.

Photo: Courtesy of ARTBA. Pictured are Juan Santamaria, Stephanie Kopelousos, Pamela Bailey-Campbell (outgoing ARTBA PPV Division President), Brian Howells (incoming ARTBA PPV Division President), and Gerry O'Reilly.