Four bidders remain for Florida’s 'Alligator Alley' project(3)

A bidding group led by JPMorgan and Brisa has dropped out of bidding for Florida's Alligator Alley project because the project had too many “uncertainties”, leaving four teams in contention for a 50-year lease of the 78-mile toll road connecting the state’s two coasts.

Alligator Alley: available
for lease

The A2 Transportation Partners consortium, one of six teams that responded to the state’s request for qualifications (RFQ) for the project last year, informed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on 29 April it would not be submitting the bid, according to a spokesperson. 

A2 was a consortium of Portuguese toll road operator Brisa, CCR – a Brazilian road developer 18 percent owned by Brisa – and a JPMorgan infrastructure fund, JPMorgan IF Acquisitions. Their team, which included Citi as a financial advisor, had scored the highest of all the responders to the state’s RFQ in August 2008.

“We looked at the process as we continued to move forward with the bid and there are a lot of uncertainties that still exist . . . with the level of uncertainties, we decided last week not to pursue the bid,” said a person in the A2 consortium who did not wish to be identified.

With the level of uncertainties, we decided last week not to pursue the bid

A2 consortium member

The uncertainties included the concession and lease agreement, operating standards for the road, and the public comparator process the state will eventually carry out to determine whether the road should be leased at all or kept under the government’s maintenance.

Two others – road concessionaires Atlantia and Global Via – submitted a letter to FDOT on 8 April asking for permission to combine their bidding groups. Late last month, the state accepted their request. Atlantia and Global Via are now continuing their bid for the road under the name of Alligator Alley Partners, Antonio Gerrastazu, director of business and government relations at Global Via, told InfrastructureInvestor, denying reports from other media outlets that Global Via had dropped out.

Global Via and Atlantia are 50-50 partners in the new bidding group, Gerrastazu added.

The A2 team’s withdrawal left four teams in contention for the road, including Alligator Alley Partners. The three other teams, according to a list of shortlisted proposers dated August 2008, include:

–         The Alligator Alley Development Partners, a 50-50 partnership between Spanish construction firm OHL and Carlyle Infrastructure Partners;
–          The Everglades Parkway Partners, a partnership between Spanish toll road developer Cintra and Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners I;
–          Vinci Concessions, a partnership between European transport concessionaire Vinci, Vinci road operator Cofiroute USA and Hubbard Construction Company

Bidding groups have just under two weeks to finalise their bids before the 18 May deadline – almost exactly a year after the due date for best-and-final bids for the Pennsylvania Turnpike, an attempt to lease a 537-mile highway that ultimately failed.

Bids were originally going to be due 9 January, but in December 2008 the state postponed the deadline to 8 May because “global financial uncertainty adversely affected the ability to move forward with the process”.

On 17 April, the state said it would move the deadline back by another 10 days to give the teams more time to finalise their negotiations with lenders.