MegaProject 718: Financial close reached for Maryland rail P3
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The consortium developing the Maryland Light Rail Purple Line P3 has announced it has achieved financial close for the project.
The financing includes an $875 million TIFIA loan from United States Department of Transportation and $313 million of "Green Bond" designated Private Activity Bonds underwritten by JP Morgan and RBC Capital Markets. Supported by contracts backed by the investment grade credit ratings of the Maryland Commonwealth Transportation Trust Fund and Fluor Corporation, the bonds were sold at the lowest interest rates ever achieved in the US P3 market which generated significant savings for MTA.
In early March, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) selected Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), a consortium composed of Meridiam, Fluor Enterprises and Star America to develop the project on a design, build, finance, operate and maintenance (DBFOM) basis under a 35-year agreement.
The construction of the line is expected to cost US$1.99 billion. The consortium would finance about half of this expense through the above-mentioned (TIFIA) loan and US$330 million of tax-exempt private activity bonds (PABs).
Additionally, the consortium would contribute a total of about US$140 million in equity, of which Meridiam would provide 70% while Fluor Corporation and Star America would each provide 15%.
According to MDOT, passenger revenues are expected to reach US$1.36 billion over the life of the agreement, with the fare starting at US$2.
The MDOT will also make fixed payments of U$150 million per year to Purple Line Transit Partners covering expenses of O&M, insurances, warranties, return on investment, etc.
The Maryland Light Rail Purple Line P3 is a 16-mile light rail line that runs east-west inside the Capital Beltway between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George's County with 21 stations planned that will provide direct connections to Metrorail's Orange Line, Green Line and two branches of the Red Line, and the MARC Brunswick, Camden and Penn Lines.