BRADENTON, Fla. — The Georgia Department of Transportation Monday issued a request for proposals for the state’s first public-private partnership concession.

Three consortiums already qualified by GDOT have been asked to submit proposals by Feb. 3 for the West by Northwest traffic-congestion relief project around Atlanta that could ultimately cost more than $2 billion.

Terms of the RFP are unknown because the state refused a request to release the document.

“As this is still an open procurement, the actual RFP document remains privileged and won’t be released until after such time as a contract is executed,” said GDOT press secretary David Spear.

Spear did confirm that the department expects to provide $300 million of public funding toward the concession cost.

As part of that commitment, the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission this week agreed to consider a future request from the State Road and Tollway Authority and GDOT for up to $100 million of grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds and up to $10 million of toll-revenue bonds.

“This [RFP] is a tremendous milestone for the Georgia DOT and for the people who will ultimately benefit from the new transportation solution this project will deliver,” said Gerald Ross, director of the state’s P3 program. “We are utilizing a public-private partnership that allows us to deliver a project our state is not able to deliver on its own with the financial realities we face today.”

The project involves two segments. The first is the $1.1 billion, 29-mile Northwest Corridor toll road project that will involve the addition of reversible managed lanes along Interstates 75 and 575.

The winning concessionaire will finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the segment with some or all of the project’s toll revenue. Financing may include the use of private-activity bonds.

The state also has qualified to apply for a $270 million low-interest federal loan through the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.

The concessionaire will also do pre-development work on a second segment: the 27-mile, $1.2 billion Western Corridor that will provide tolled managed lanes on I-285 West and I-20 West.

Final terms of the concession agreement — including the state’s funding commitment, the length of the concession agreement and the plan of finance— will be determined when officials select a consortium and negotiate a contract.

The project is expected to reach financial close in the summer of 2012. If Garvee bonds are needed to satisfy the public funding commitment to the project, the bonds are expected to be issue in 2013.

If private-activity bonds constitute a portion of the final finance plan, a local government authority will issue them.

Construction is slated to begin in spring 2013 with the opening targeted for fall 2016. Three consortiums representing 15 local, national, and international firms will respond to the RFP.

The consortiums and their top member firms are: West by Northwest Development Partners, with equity members VINCI Concessions SAS and OHL Concesiones SL, and lead contractors Archer Western Contractors Ltd., OHL USA Inc. and Hubbard Construction Co.

Georgia Mobility Partners, with equity members Cintra Infraestructuras SA, MINA USA LLC — a subsidiary of Meridiam Infrastructure — and Grupo Soares da Costa SGPS SA. Lead contractors are Ferrovial Agroman SA and Prince Contracting LLC.

Northwest Atlanta Development Group, with equity member ACS Infrastructure Development Inc. and lead contractors Dragados USA Inc. and C.W. Matthews Contracting Co.

GDOT’s team of P3 consultants for this project are HNTB as technical advisor, Nossaman LLP as legal advisor, and RBC Capital Markets as financial advisor.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.