Northwest Parkway Colorado toll concession finalized with financial close

November 19, 2007
By Peter Samuel
A statement embargoed for noon Monday Nov 19 says that the Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority and Portugal based toll operator Brisa together with their Brazilian partner CCR have finalized a 99 year toll concession with financial close on the $603m lease concession.

The deal retires all outstanding NWPPHA bonds, provides funds for the Authority members and payment of other pre-existing obligations, and transfers financial and operational responsibility and reward to the private sector Brisa/CCR joint venture. The agreement also provides committed funding for a 3.7km (2.3mi) extension over US36 to CO128 in Broomfield at the western end of the project.

The NW Parkway Authority will continue to exist to oversee the concession and to take back control of the tollroad in 2106.

Joao Azevedo Coutinho, CFO and director of Brisa's international division said: "We are thrilled to officially complete the final step of this agreement, in order to retire the bonded debt and provide for future expansion of the road."

The financial close follows a unanimous decision of the NWPPHA board of directors to turn the tollroad over to the selected concessionaire which was chosen from competing bids. The concession agreement was signed August 29 when it was said that financial close was expected within 30 days. The close was seven weeks late, but it's now done the joint statement says.

NW Parkway has had traffic and revenue well below forecast and under the traditional public authority all-bond financing it was headed for default at some point in the next few years. The Parkway was approached by investor groups in the summer of 2006 proposing a toll concession and negotiations proceeded unannounced with one group. However in the autumn of 2006 NWPPHA officials called off the talks and decided to call for public bids.

The parkway runs about 15km (9mi) from I-25 north of Denver slightly south of west to  near US36 in Broomfield and constitutes an extension counter clockwise of an unfinished belt route around the Denver metro area formed in the east by the E470 tollroad and in the southwest by the free C470.

Toll transactions are running at about 14k/day. The 2+2 lane toll expressway has one mainline with open road operations down the middle and two ramp plazas. Toll operations are conducted for the parkway by the E470 tollroad.

Elsewhere

Concessions are too commonplace to list outside the US. In much of the world they are the normal way major highways, bridges and tunnels get financed. In the US they are much less common:

Ambassador Bridge Detroit Windsor

91 Express Lanes California, Los Angeles area (recently reverted to county ownership)

Dulles Greenway, northern Virginia

Pocahontas Parkway, Richmond Virginia

Camino Colombia Toll Road, Laredo TX (went broke and ended up as TxDOT tollroad)

Chicago Skyway, Chicago IL

Indiana Toll Road

South Bay Expressway, San Diego California

3 bridges in Alabama and Detroit Windsor Tunnel

A couple are signed but not yet built, a number of others are in negotiation or selection.

TOLLROADSnews 2007-11-19

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