Transurban Fluor Virginia DOT go to financial close on $1 billion I-95 toll lanes BREAKING NEWS
By Peter Samuel
2012-07-31 Midday: The VA/I-95 toll express lanes project on I-95 from the Capital Beltway at Springfield south to Fredericksburg VA is going to a financial close today with financing averaging 4.5 percent fixed rate loans. The approx $1 billion project will widen a 2-lanes reversible HOV to 3 lanes and extend it 10 miles south, add interchanges and bus transit and manage traffic with variable tolls.
People connected to the project told us they were delighted at the financing deal they got, and said it is an expression of faith by financiers in the viability of toll lanes. Private Activity Bonds are involved.
Many others had expressed doubt the project was ever going to be financed in the current economy with widespread real estate foreclosures and little development or increase in traffic.
As on the Capital Beltway "495 Express Lanes" that are nearing completion Melbourne Australia-based Transurban is the lead investor in the I-95 express lanes project with a 90% share, American Fluor with 10%. Like the Beltway lanes the I-95 lanes will be dynamically priced for vehicles with fewer than 3 persons.
A special switchable transponder will be used (E-ZPass Flex the brand) so HOVs and tolled don't have to find a special lane.
The 95 Express Lanes will cater heavily to commuters and will be set to run northbound traffic mornings and southbound evenings.
The two projects will meet at the massive I-95/I-395/I-495 Springfield Interchange so there will continuous toll express lanes for some 50 miles when complete - from near Fredericksburg to Tysons Corner.
MORE TO COME: No official announcement yet, but when there is this will be amplified and amended as necessary.
BACKGROUND: Transurban's 495 Express Lanes are the biggest highway improvement currently under way in the Washington DC metro area and are due to open by the end of this year. From 2013 to about 2016 Transurban's I-95 Express Lanes will be the largest highway construction project in the national capital metro area.
In both cases investors are financing most of the cost and taking most of the traffic and revenue risk in the national capital area.