Fitch rates debt for Portsmouth Bypass Project

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Fitch rates debt for Portsmouth Bypass Project

Fitch Ratings has assigned an expected rating of 'BBB(EXP)' for the project finance debt of the Portsmouth Bypasss public private partnership (PPP) project.

Specifically the agency has assigned a rating of 'BBB(EXP)' to US$231 million of senior Treasurer of State (Ohio) private activity bonds (PABs) issued on behalf of the project and a rating of 'BBB(EXP)' to US$209 million subordinate Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the project.

The PABs are expected to price by early April 2015 while the TIFIA loan is expected to close on a similar date.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) selected the Portsmouth Gateway Group (PGG) as the preferred bidder for the project in September 2014. The team is composed by:

On 5 December 2014 ODOT entered into a concession agreement with the PGG to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain (DBFOM) the project for an approximately 41-year term. ODOT will compensate PGG through an availability payment mechanism.

The Portsmouth Bypass will be a four-lane, divided, limited-access highway around the City of Portsmouth in Scioto County, Ohio. The highway, to be designated State Route 823 (SR 823), is known as the Portsmouth Bypass and will comprise 16 miles of four lane divided highway, bypassing approximately 26 miles of US 52 and US 23 through Portsmouth.

The project includes construction of five new interchanges (U.S. 52, S.R. 140, Shumway Hollow Road, Lucasville Minford Road and U.S. 23.)

The total project investment is estimated at US$429 million.

Few months ago Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced plans to use a P3 to develop the Brent Spence Bridge replacement and refurbishment project. This project is expected to be developed on a design, build, finance and operation (DBFO) basis. The total project investment is estimated at US$2.6 billion.

This month we have reported about several road PPP projects in the US:

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