Nevada's ‘NEON’ shortlist drawn up

ACS, Macquarie and Meridiam have been given the green light to vie for the $1.5bn deal.

Grupo ACS, Macquarie Group and Meridiam Infrastructure can tender proposals for ‘Project NEON,’ a design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) concession of Interstate 15 (I-15) in Nevada, a US state.

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) named the three firms on a shortlist of qualified bidders on its website. The companies responded to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the project – the first-ever surface transportation public-private partnership (PPP; P3) in Nevada – in the summer.

Cintra, the toll road operator headquartered in Madrid, Spain, also responded to the RFQ for NEON, but was not shortlisted, according to the Department. Cole Mortensen, senior project manager with NDOT in state capital Carson City, did not return a voicemail message asking him to comment.

Macquarie unit Macquarie Capital, or MacCap, has teamed with local business Las Vegas Paving as ‘Las Vegas NEON Ventures’. Fund manager Meridiam, meanwhile, has partnered with Kiewit Corporation to bid on the P3. Lastly, ACS Infrastructure Group, a US offshoot of ACS, has allied itself with Fengate Capital Management and Star America Infrastructure Partners.

Shortlisted teams not selected as preferred bidder will receive a $1.2 million ‘stipend,’ according to the Department. NDOT is expecting to send out a Request for Proposals (RFP) by February next year, with a winner to be chosen by November. Construction would begin in 2015 and expected to conclude in 2019.

The P3 – the largest major road project to be undertaken in Nevada – was conceived to reduce the “high crash rate” on I-15 in Las Vegas. In June, NDOT determined a P3 would be more effective for delivering the project than a traditional design-build procurement. NEON is a 3.7-mile project estimated to cost up to $1.5 billion.