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Ferrovial in innovative financial close for Atlanta road

The I-285/SR 400 project marks the first time a P3 is being funded with tax-exempt bank debt, thanks to a $458m loan from Bank of America.

Spanish developer Ferrovial has reached financial close on I-285/SR 400, a $458 million P3 project state Governor Nathan Deal has pledged to use as a ‘blueprint’ for future transportation projects.

Bank of America is providing a tax-exempt loan for up to $458 million, maturing in 2022, marking the first time that a P3 project in the US is being funded with tax-exempt bank debt, the Madrid-based company said in a statement.

Georgia’s Department of Transportation selected North Perimeter Contractors, the consortium led by Ferrovial and including The Louis Berger Group and Neel-Schaffer, last December.

The state agency had initially estimated the project’s cost at $1.1 billion, but by procuring the project as a P3, the state was able to save $421 million. As a result, Governor Deal said the success of I-285/SR 400 and the Northwest Corridor, another highway project Georgia procured as a P3 in September 2013, would prompt the state to deploy a similar design-build-finance model in future transportation projects, beginning with a 10-year programme he unveiled in January.

The I-285/SR 400 project entails upgrades, such as building new flyover ramps, collector-distributor lanes and other elements to facilitate east-west movement on I-285 and north-south movement on SR 400. It also includes the extension of the PATH 400 trail – a system connecting parks, trails, schools and neighborhoods to the urban core of Buckhead and to the Atlanta BeltLine.

The project is expected to be completed by 2020 and will save drivers 8,000 hours of travel time per year.