No bids for 'Gator Alley concession in Florida
By Peter Samuel
Florida DOT says they got no bids for the toll concession they were offering on Alligator Alley. Four major international groups had registered interest and been advanced to the bid stage. There was already one delay in the deadline for bids.
The lack of a bid probably reflects the rotten financial conditions for raising money for longterm projects and uncertainties over the investment environment. An article in the New York financial journal BARRONS May 11 by Andrew Bary leads off: "THE CREDIT-MARKET COLLAPSE AND POLITICAL OPPOSITION have all but killed the U.S. highway-privatization trend."
The lack of any bid for Alligator Alley following the collapse of the Chicago Midweay Airport concession certainly provides strong evidence for that kind of strongly pessimistic conclusion about the current prospects for private infrastructure funding.
Alligator Alley was an almost pure "brownfields" concession in that the road is an established 2+2 lane expressway with no foreseeable need to rebuild or add capacity and rather static traffic. Being a pure investment and operations 'play' it had little of the immediate engineering design and construction elements of many concessions.
Designated I-75 and 125km (78 miles) in length it links the Miami area with the Gulf coast near Naples. The road carries about 30k vehicles/day with an unusually large proportion of heavy truck traffic.
A more optimistic assessment says that the current problems in the financial markets will be resolved and private investors will return before very long. It also stresses that each project is unique...
Time will tell.