CHICAGO -- Indiana last week announced a shortlist of four firms that will compete to partner with the state on its latest public-private partnership, a $400 million highway project.

The state selected the four firms from a total of five teams that responded to a recent request for qualifications to partner with the state to build and operate a section of Interstate 69.

The Indiana Finance Authority and the Indiana Department of Transportation will meet with the teams for ideas and to discuss the next steps. The state expects to release a full request for proposals in the fall.

The finalists include a team that includes Macquarie Capital Group Limited, which operates the Indiana Toll Road; a team led by Public Sector Pension Investment Board, or PSP Investments -- a Canadian Crown Corp.; a group including Plenary Group; and one led by Walsh Investors LLC and Walsh Construction Group. Walsh is the private partner on Indiana’s current P3, a $1.3 billion new bridge over the Ohio River.

As with the Ohio River project, Indiana plans to use a P3 model with an availability payment structure.

The IFA will also seek financing under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation program for the I-69 project.

The project is part of a massive rebuilding of 142 miles of Interstate 69 connecting Evansville to Indianapolis. The work is being done in stages, with four already complete or in construction. The fifth stage, which would be financed with the new P3, is estimated to cost around $394 million.

The private team would design, build, finance, own and operate the 21-mile stretch of the interstate for at least 35 years after the completion of the project, according to the request for qualifications. There will be no tolls.

The tentative structure calls for the IFA to enter into an agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation that requires INDOT to make periodic availability payments. INDOT’s revenue comes from a biennial budget appropriation.

The IFA would make the availability payments to the developer. In addition to the Ohio River Bridges project and the I-69 project, the state is working with Illinois to build a 47-mile expressway running between the two states. On the local side, the city of East Chicago, Ind. recently signed a P3 that will allow a private company to create the state’s only privately owned toll bridge.

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