Unsolicited proposal triggers PPP opportunity for Miami expressway

The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority will hold an industry forum to discuss an unsolicited proposal it received for improvements on one of its expressways, state road 836. The forum could pave the next steps for a PPP to develop the corridor.

The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority will hold an industry forum to discuss a potential public-private partnership (PPP) for corridor improvements on one of its expressways, a process triggered by an unsolicited partnership proposal received by the Authority earlier this year by Dragados, a subsidiary of Spanish infrastructure developer ACS.

The Authority said in an email from its procurement department that it will hold the forum on 26 October at the authority's headquarters in Miami to give industry participants an overview of the proposal, discuss its policies for PPP procurement, project funding and current status of the proposal.

The proposal relates to improvements o the state road 836/I-395 corridors in Miami-Dade County between LeJeune Road and McArthur Causeway Bridge over the Biscayne Bay, the Authority said. Miami-Dade Expressway Authority executive director, Javier Rodriguez, disclosed at a meeting in April that he had received a “notice for a significant unsolicited proposal” for the 836 corridor. 

An industry source familiar with the project said the Authority still has significant work to do before the project will be ripe for procurement, including environmental studies, right of way issues and funding. If the project is eventually put out to bid, it could become an opportunity for a private sector developer to design, build and finance the corridor improvements or to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the corridor under an availability payment mechanism.

Availability payments, or periodic payments made from the government to the private sector partner in exchange for meeting certain levels of service, are also being implemented in the $1.68 billion I-595 corridor improvement project in Florida’s Broward County.

Like many metropolitan planning organisations in charge of maintaining and developing transportation infrastructure for growing urban areas, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority is faced with burgeoning transportation needs and limited financial resources to meet those needs. The Miami-Dade Transportation Plan to 2030 has previously estimated that the county will experience population growth of 43 percent between 2000 and 2030.

To meet the transportation needs of this growing population base, the Authority estimated in 2007 that it will need $2.4 billion over the next 25 years just to maintain its network of five expressways and another $9.5 billion to $10 billion to improve the system.

The Authority also outlined $8 billion in future projects to improve the system, among them a $1.3 billion southwest extension of the 836 expressway.