Florida DOT restarting concession procurement for Jacksonville Outer Belt
By Peter Samuel
Florida DOT is restarting the procurement of a toll concession to build and operate the Jacksonville First Coast Outer Beltway. This week they lodged a notice withdrawing the first procurement which was delayed about a year while the state obtained legislation exempting concessionaires from property tax.
"Too much time had passed and some of the previous bidders indicated their position had changed," we were told by Gina Busscher, FDOT's public information officer today. "We decided it was best to start over on the concession procurement, although some work, such as environmental permitting is unaffected."
She denied there was any intention to drop or defer the project and said the department was still "fully committed" to it.
A request for qualifications (RFQ) was issued 2007/12/04.
4 submitted quals
Qualifications were received from four teams 2008/03/05:
- ACS Dragados Macquarie
- Cintra, Skanska
- OHL, Goldman Sachs, Global Via, Meridiam
The procurement was put on hold April 30 2008 based on legal advice that the state couldn't at that time give an assurance to concession bidders that they wouldn't be dunned for property tax by local governments. It took until June 4 this year (2009) for legislation to be signed by the Governor that rules out property tax on a tollroad concession.
Since then Macquarie and Goldman Sachs have taken a drubbing in the great financial crisis and are not actively involved in new projects. Itinere too may be overextended. On the other hand some new groups may be in the bidding.
The First Coast Outer Beltway is proposed as a four-lane expressway standard toll road that would
connect I-10 on the west side of Jacksonville and I-95 south of Jacksonville - in northern St Johns County. The 75km (46.5 mile) long L-plan roadway's major feature will be a new bridge over the tidal St Johns River close to the existing Shands Bridge. The 75km of road would have 13 interchanges.
Cost has been estimated at around $1800m.
The project has gone through a federal environmental impact permitting process and is generally supported in the region.
T&R report from WSA
A planning level traffic and revenue analysis was finalized recently by Wilbur Smith. It found that a toll rate of 12.5c/km (20c/mi) for cars and 30c/km (50c/mile) for trucks was optimal with a $1.00 surcharge at the bridge.
It showed at 12.5c/km toll revenues would start at around $41m in 2015 going to $93m by 2020 and $160m by 2025.
see table nearby