LaPorte County (Indiana) commissioners are considering forming a seven-county consortium to bid for the Indiana toll road deal.
The news come after the reorganization plan of the operator of the Indiana Toll Road (ITR Concession Company) was recently approved by a federal bankruptcy judge in Chicago,
According to sources, investment bank Piper Jaffray of Minneapolis has recently submitted a report to LaPorte County that shows the toll road cash flow could support a public entity bid. According to Mr. Jaffray about US$4.1 billion would have to be borrowed in order to submit a successful bid. The report would contemplate a bid of US$3.7 billion.
The LaPorte County has also hired Chicago law firm Goldstein & McClintock.
The seven northern Indiana counties plan to establish a nonprofit entity to acquire the highway. According to the plan, a private company will be hired to operate the project. The seven-county consortium would have the advantage of being able to issue municipal bonds to bid for the highway.
We recently reported that other teams are interested in the project:
The state of Indiana leased the Indiana Toll Road to Spain's Cintra and Australia's Macquarie Group Ltd. for $3.8 billion in 2006. Macquarie Infrastructure Partners owns 25% of the project, Macquarie Atlas Roads controls 25% and Cintra, the road's operator, holds 50%. The contract has a period of 75 years.
The Indiana Toll Road, officially the Indiana East-West Toll Road, runs for 251.51 km east-west across northern Indiana from the Illinois state line to the Ohio state line.