Jackson MS Airport Parkway toll concession delayed but official optimistic
By Peter Samuel
Mississippi DOT's procurement of a toll concessionaire to build a new Airport Parkway tollroad for the state capital of Jackson is delayed several months by the world financial crisis. But the official leading the process is optimistic it will proceed. A final Request for Proposals was issued March 12 and there's now a June 15 deadline for proposals. July 9 is set as date for selection of the Best Value Selection and September 29 for execution of the concession contract and deadline for financial close, with toll collection to begin by Jan 1 2013.
Brenda Vanover Znachko, deputy executive director/CFO of Mississippi DOT (MsDOT) says that the schedule was pushed back at the request of proposers. She says the investor groups and their lenders wanted more time to thoroughly study the project.
"Otherwise we feel optimistic that we will receive competitive bids on June 15," Znachko says.
August 20 MsDOT announced three teams had been shortlisted and would proceed to the RFP stage end January with a selection in March.
Jackson Airport Parkway is a 20km (12 mile) tollroad linking the downtown more directly via a new 2+2 lane expressway to the eastern suburbs and Jackson Airport. The Parkway's major component is a new bridge over the Pearl River and its wide flood plain located immediately east of the downtown. The Parkway splits into northeast and southeast branches, the first going to a developing suburban area with indirect connections to the central business district and the second going to the airport entrance. Airport travelers presently loop further south to use I-20, an overloaded interstate, or a slow arterial US80.
There are five interchanges.
The Jackson area has been growing rapidly with a pro-business, low tax environment.
The Mississippi project is entirely "greenfields" in that it is an investment play in new capacity - the opposite of the Alligator Alley in Florida. State toll authorities say they are getting construction bids 15% to 25% lower than a year and 18 months ago which could help with projects like this.