BRADENTON, Fla. — Three consortiums representing 15 local, national, and international firms have submitted qualifications to the Georgia Department of Transportation for consideration to develop the state’s first public-private partnership road project.

The state’s first P3 is a plan called the West by Northwest Project that is estimated to cost more than $2 billion. It is designed to bring needed traffic-congestion relief to metropolitan Atlanta.

A concession ultimately will be awarded for the design, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance of 29 miles of reversible managed lanes along Interstates 75 and 575, and pre-development activities for another 27-mile segment along I-285 and I-20.

“We are extremely gratified by this strong expression of interest in Georgia’s P3 program,” said GDOT commissioner Vance Smith. “This is an important step toward P3 implementation and the delivery of a major improvement to our transportation system.”

GDOT staff will analyze the respondents’ statements of qualifications and a shortlist will be announced by June. The department in September will release a request for proposals to which the selected proposers must respond by January 2011.

GDOT said it expects to select the consortium in March that will be awarded the concession contract and hopes to negotiate a financial close of a P3 agreement by July.

P3 program officials have said that they may consider private-activity bonds, grant anticipation revenue vehicles — known as Garvee bonds — traditional toll revenue bonds, and credit assistance from the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. TIFIA provides low-interest loans and other lines of credit for transportation projects, and is often used in conjunction with PABs.

GDOT anticipates contributing $350 million for items such as payment right of way expenses, milestone-based payments during design and construction, and availability or performance-based payments. The agency plans to spell out exactly how its contribution will be provided by September when requests for proposals are sought.

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 contractor Dragados USA Inc.

The DOT’s team of P3 consultants includes HNTB as technical adviser, Nossaman LLP as legal adviser, and RBC Capital Markets as financial adviser.

More information on the West by Northwest project and Georgia’s P3 program is at www.georgiaP3.com.

In early April, GDOT announced that its first P3 director, Earl Mahfuz, had retired. The agency has not yet announced a replacement.

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