Regional News

Mississippi Receives Three Proposals for P3

BRADENTON, Fla. - The Mississippi Department of Transportation on Friday received three statements of qualifications from firms interested in entering into the state's first public-private partnership.

The project is a new 12-mile toll road called the Airport Parkway, which primarily will create a direct connection between downtown Jackson and Jackson-Evers International Airport. The road is estimated to cost between $350 million and $500 million.

To assist prospective concessionaires with construction financing, the state DOT has applied for $80 million under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program and is seeking an allocation of $200 million of private-activity bonds from the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Brenda Znachko, deputy executive director and chief financial officer for the state road agency.

The concessionaire, through its equity partners and lenders, is expected to finance the remaining cost.

Znachko said her agency is pleased that the firms and consortiums responding to the Airport Parkway have partnered with local and regional companies.

"We're delighted to see such strong submissions and we are evaluating the statements of qualifications," said Znachko, who added that the Mississippi project may have elicited more interest if not for larger public-private partnerships in Texas and Florida.

Znachko said the DOT currently is conducting environmental evaluations on three other potential P3 toll-road projects between Jackson and the coast, which would be larger than the Airport Parkway.

The three groups submitting their qualifications to bid on the Airport Parkway concession are: The Jackson Access Mobility Group composed of Dragados USA, HNTB Corp., Eutaw Construction Co., Key Constructors Inc., and APAC, a division of Oldcastle Materials Inc.; the Airport Parkway P3 Group composed of Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de TransporteSA, Ferrovial-Agroman SA, Neel-Schaffer Inc., and Johnson Bros.; and Global Via Infraestructuras SA.

The Mississippi DOT will announce Sept. 9 which firms are qualified to proceed to the next step. The agency will issue a draft request for proposals and concession agreement Sept. 10 and respondents will be asked to submit comments. Final proposals from the firms are due Jan. 30.

The 50-year concession is expected to fully fund and accelerate construction of the Airport Parkway project, which has been under consideration for many years. No state funding will be available other than $32 million the state DOT already has spent on design and some right of way acquisition. A web site describing the project can be found at www.theairportparkway.com.



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