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Project Profiles

Southern Connector

Location

Greenville, South Carolina

Project Sponsor / Borrower

South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT)

Program Areas

P3Revenue - Road Pricing Revenue

Mode

Toll Highway

Description

The Southern Connector (I-185) is a four-lane, 16-mile toll road linking I-385 with I-85 south of Greenville, South Carolina. Including the termini, the toll road has six interchanges. The goal of the Connector was to relieve traffic in the growing Greenville area as well as serve as a development connection between residential and commercial areas.

The project is structured as a public-private partnership between SCDOT and the private partner, Interwest Carolina Transportation Group, LLC. The two formed a 63-20 non-profit corporation, Connector 2000 Association, Inc. (C2A), which issued tax-exempt toll revenue bonds to construct the facility. C2A operates under a 50-year license and during this time is responsible for the design, financing, construction, operation, and maintenance of the facility. Under C2A's agreement, C2A pays a fee to SCDOT for licensing and maintenance. SCDOT retains ownership of the Connector.

Cost

$240 million

Funding Sources

Toll revenue bonds - $240 million

Project Delivery / Contract Method

DBFOM (design-build-finance-operate-maintain)

Private Partner

Interwest Carolina Transportation Group, LLC

  • Interwest Management
  • Kutock Rock
  • Wilbur Smith Associates
  • Thrift Brothers
  • Florence & Hutchinson, Inc.
  • Mesirow Financial
  • Lehman Brothers

Project Advisors / Consultants

Bond Trustees:

  • Wachovia Bank (successor to First Union National Bank)
  • U.S. Bank National Association (successor to Wachovia)

Lenders

Bondholders

Duration / Status

The Southern Connector opened on February 27, 2001 with a free trial period for motorists. Tolling began on March 14, 2001.

Financial Status

Due to lower than projected traffic volume, in 2007 C2A issued a request for qualifications for a toll concessionaire to operate and maintain the facility, with a focus on strategies to increase revenue. The process did not proceed further. In June 2010, C2A filed for Chapter 9 (municipal reorganization) bankruptcy as toll revenues were not sufficient to cover bond payments. The bankruptcy did not affect the operation of the Connector. A bankruptcy plan was agreed to with creditors in August 2012 which resulted a restructuring of bonds for creditors.

Innovations

N/A

Related Links / Articles

Southern Connector Facility Website

The Bond Buyer Article on Bond Restructuring

Contacts

N/A

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
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