Final Route 460 RFP due next month

The Virginia Department of Transportation issued its final request for proposals to consortia led by Cintra, Kiewit and Skanska for its Route 460 toll road concession. Procurement first began in 2006.

A finalised request for proposals (RFP) pitting Cintra, Kiewit Corporation and Skanska for the US Route 460 project in Virginia was published last week and is due in October.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) set a Monday, October 8 deadline for each consortium to respond.

The public-private partnership (PPP) is a 55-mile, four-lane toll road promising “greatly enhanced movement,” as well as “significant” potential for job creation and business growth, according to VDOT.

“Route 460 is on track to begin construction next year,” Greg Whirley, department commissioner, said in a statement.

The RFP underwent its latest redraft in May, stipulating Virginia would retain ownership of the road as well as set toll cost. It also specified Virginia had applied for a $400 million TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Investment Act) loan, to help mitigate public funding.

VDOT in the RFP slated construction to begin in 2013, with the “new” Route 460 scheduled to open in 2018.

Conceived in 2000 as a US surface transportation infrastructure project, Route 460 has been subject to a trial-and-error approach to procurement.

The department designated the route a “high priority corridor,” and in 2003 used the Virginia Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 to cobble together a PPP to extend the state route. But the project stumbled in procurement, with industry feedback calling for greater public funding.

Virginia first tried to find a private partner in 2006, but received no industry response. In 2008, the department issued a RFP, and then in 2009 amended the RFP, before suspending procurement until 2010.

Procurement restarted in 2011, and in 2012 the RFP was again revised, requiring the would-be private partner to deliver the project with “the least public subsidy”. In particular, VDOT was intent to “reduce” the concession length.

Throughout, three consortia maintained interest in the design, build, and finance (DBF) mandate, including:

– Cintra Infraestructuras, teaming toll road operator Cintra, Ferrovial Agroman, Janseen & Spaans Engineering, A. Morton Thomas and American Infrastructure;

– 460 Partners, a consortium including Skanska, AECOM, CGA Capital, Bank of America, Moreland Property Group, Infrastructure Capital Partners, Lane Construction Corporation, and Transfield Services North America;

– Multimodal Solutions, with Kiewit , Edgemoor Real Estate Services, Clark Construction Group, Shirley Contracting Company, Autostrade, The Louis Berger Group, Barclays Capital;

Bidding on the mandate has ranged from $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion. Cintra offered $1.5 billion, while Kiewit proposed a $2.7 billion bid. Skanska, meanwhile, offered $2.2 billion.

As for concession length, Cintra offered a 99-year lease, while both Kiewit and Skanska offered a 75-year period.

Virginia first estimated the project would cost $1.8 billion.