MegaProject 463: NCDOT and Cintra announces Financial Close on I-77 Express Lanes Project
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The North Carolina Department of Transportation, together with I-77 Mobility Partners, announced yesterday that they have achieved financial close on the I-77 Express Lanes PPP project.
The Financial Close process includes months of review by the Local Government Commission (that includes the State Treasurer, State Auditor, Secretary of State and Secretary of Revenue) and the Federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Credit Council. NCDOT received approval from both and secured funding at historically low interest rates.
The financing package consists of a $100 million package of private activity bonds and a US$189 million subordinated loan granted under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).
The total project investment is estimated at US$655 million. North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will provide an up-front subsidy of US$91.4 million to help fund construction works and the project will also benefit from US$249.8 million in equity commitments from the project's ultimate sponsors, Cintra Infraestructuras, S.A. and Aberdeen Global Infrastructure II LLP.
Construction is slated to begin this summer on the innovative public-private partnership that will reduce congestion and provide reliable travel time to one of the state's most congested corridors.
The design includes road widening, in both directions, along 26 miles (41.8 kilometres) of the I-77 in the metropolitan area north of Charlotte, between the junctions with the I-277 in Charlotte and the NC-150 in Iredell County. To improve traffic in one of the fastest-growing areas of the state, the existing highway will be rebuilt and capacity will be increased by creating managed lanes, subject to variable electronic tolls, which will help reduce congestion and improve traffic flow in the corridor.
The project is divided into three segments:
- on the southern segment (2.2 mi, 3.5 km), the existing section will be upgraded and two managed lanes will be built in each direction;
- on the central segment (14.9 mi, 23.8 km), the existing lanes will be upgraded and two managed lanes will be built in each direction;
- on the northern segment (8.8 mi, 14.2 km), the consortium will build one new managed lane in each direction.
The project will be developed on a design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) basis. The 50-year concession starts from the date the infrastructure opens to traffic.