Florida has officially given the final approval for the I-4 Ultimate Project in the Orlando area to move forward as the state’s largest public-private partnership.

Under state law, a contractor-financed P3 project requires both the governor’s approval and a 14-day legislative consultation and notification period, which were completed Friday, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

The $2.1 billion project has been in the works for many years, and various sources of funding are being contemplated, including private-activity bonds, a low-interest federal loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, toll revenues, as well as state and federal funds.

The massive project covers 21 miles in central Florida’s Orange and Seminole counties, and includes reconstructing the existing Interstate and 15 interchanges, adding two managed express lanes in each direction, building 56 new bridges and replacing 68 others.

An industry forum for firms interested in the development, design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the I-4 Ultimate Project is scheduled for March 4 in Orlando. Details are posted on a special website at www.moving-4-ward.com.

“I’m excited to have the department’s largest P3 to date started and to get this megaproject moving forward,” said FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad. “Our goal is to have financial close on the project by the summer of 2014 with construction beginning later that year [or by] early 2015.”

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