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Project Profile: Chicago Skyway

Chicago Skyway

photo credit: City of Chicago


Chicago, Illinois

Project Sponsor / Borrower

City of Chicago

Program Areas

Public Private PartnershipsTolling and PricingValue Capture

Value Capture Techniques Asset Recycling

Toll Highway


The Chicago Skyway is a 7.8-mile elevated toll road connecting I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) in Chicago to I-90 (Indiana Toll Road) at the Indiana border. The facility includes a 3.5-mile elevated mainline structure crossing the Calumet River. Built in 1958, the Skyway was operated and maintained by the City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

In March 2004, the City of Chicago issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) from potential bidders interested in operating the facility on a long-term lease basis in March of 2004. It received 10 responses and in May 2004 invited five groups to prepare proposals. Bids were submitted in October 2004, with the long-term lease awarded to Cintra/Macquarie on October 28, 2004. Cintra/Macquarie bid $1.83 billion for the 99-year concession, 2.6 times as much as the next highest bidder, a French and Canadian group led by Vinci Concessions. Abertis Infraestructuras of Spain was the only other bidder, offering $505 million for the lease.

The Skyway Concession Company, LLC (SCC) assumed operations on the Skyway on January 26, 2005. SCC is responsible for all operating and maintenance costs of the Skyway but has the right to all toll and concession revenue. This agreement between SCC and the City of Chicago was the first long term lease of an existing toll road in the United States.

In June 2015, Cintra and Macquarie, seeking to make a return on their equity investment, announced their intent to sell all interest in SCC. A consortium comprising three Canadian pension funds (Calumet Concession Partners LLC) agreed to purchase the lease for $2.8 billion in November 2015. The Canadian Pension Consortium will operate and collect tolls on the Skyway for the remainder of the lease, until 2104.


$1.83 billion

Funding Sources

Original financial structure (backed by toll receipts)

  • Cintra equity - $485 million
  • Macquarie equity - $397 million
  • Bank Loans - $948 million

August 2005 refinancing (backed by toll receipts)

  • Cintra/Macquarie equity - $510 million
  • Capital accretion bonds - $961 million (21-year maturity; 5.6% interest rate)
  • Current interest bonds - $439 million (12-year maturity)
  • Subordinated bank debt - $150 million (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Santander Central Hispano of Spain, together with Calyon of Chicago)

February 2016 sale ($2.8 billion)

  • Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board equity - $512 million
  • Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System equity - $512 million
  • Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan equity - $512 million
  • Bank debt (backed by toll receipts) - $1.26 billion
Project Delivery / Contract Method

Not applicable

Private Partner

Equity partner - Skyway Concession Company, LLC (SCC)

  • Formerly, Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. and Macquarie Infrastructure Group/Macquarie Infrastructure Partners
  • Currently, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan
Project Advisors / Consultants



Original financing (syndicated $1.2 billion nine-year non-recourse senior debt to 15 international banks)

  • Banco Santander Central Hispano
  • Calyon
  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
  • Depfa Bank

August 2005 refinancing

  • Original four-bank club and Citigroup

February 2016 sale

  • Not available
Duration / Status

99-year lease commenced January 26, 2005

Financial Status

Refinancing closed August 2005

Sale closed February 2016

  • First long term lease of an existing public toll road in the United States
  • Funded a $500 million long-term and $375 million medium-term reserve for the City of Chicago, as well as a $100 million neighborhood, human, and business infrastructure fund to be drawn down over five years.
  • The City of Chicago also collected $20 million and the Chicago Transit Authority $8 million in real property transfer taxes from the 2015 sale.
Related Links / Articles

Chicago Skyway Official Site



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