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Project Profile: I-77 Express Lanes

I-77 Express Lanes

photo credit: I-77 Mobility Partners LLC

Location

Charlotte, North Carolina

Project Borrower / Sponsor

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)

Cintra Infraestructuras, S.A.

Program Areas

P3Project FinanceTolling and PricingTIFIA

Mode

Highway / Express Lanes

Description

The I-77 Express Lanes project will add 26 miles of variably priced managed lanes along I-77 and I-277 in Charlotte, North Carolina north through Mecklenburg and Iredell Counties. The project will provide two 17.5-mile express lanes in both directions from I-277 (Brookshire Freeway) near Charlotte Center City to Catawba Avenue in Cornelius and one express lane per direction for an additional eight miles from to NC 150 in Mooresville. At the southern end of the corridor, direct connector ramps will extend the lanes an additional 1.3 miles along I-277.

The project will convert the existing HOV lanes between I-277 to north of I-485 in Huntersville (southbound) and between I-85 and I-485 (northbound) to express toll lane operation. Second express lanes will be constructed on new right-of-way in both directions on this segment. The express lanes north of I-485 will also be built on new capacity. The project will include up to 12 points of access and egress and will utilize all-electronic tolling. The occupancy requirement for free travel on the express lanes will be HOV3+. Motorcycles, buses, and emergency vehicles will also be able to use the lanes at no cost.

The project will enhance mobility and travel time reliability in the I-77 corridor north of Charlotte. This region has experienced significant population growth over the past 25 years, particularly in the communities along the northern portion of the corridor in Iredell County. Population growth in this portion of the region expanded at a rate 50 percent greater than the average state rate between 2000 and 2010. As a result, the I-77 corridor currently experiences significant which would worsen in the absence of the improvements.

Cost

$636 million

Funding Sources

Private Activity Bonds (PABs) - $100 million

TIFIA loan - $189 million

Public funding - $94.7 million

Equity contribution - $248 million

Interest income - $0.5 million

Bond premium - $3.6 million

Project Delivery / Contract Method

Design-build-finance-operate-maintain Toll Concession (50 years)

Private Partner

I-77 Mobility Partners LLC

  • Cintra Infraestructuras, S.A.
  • Aberdeen Global Infrastructure Partners II
  • John Laing Group

Other Private Partners

  • Sugar Creek Construction, LLC, a joint venture between FA Southeast and English Construction - Lead Contractor
  • The Louis Berger Group - Lead Designer
Project Advisors / Consultants

C&M Associates - Concessionaire's Traffic and Revenue Adviser to the Sponsor

  • Stantec - Traffic and Revenue Adviser
  • KPMG - Financial Adviser
  • Nossaman - Legal Adviser
  • WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff - Technical Adviser

To USDOT TIFIA JPO

  • Shearman & Sterling LLP - TIFIA Legal Advisor
  • IMG Rebel - TIFIA Financial Advisor

To the Borrower

  • C&M Associates, Inc. - Traffic and Revenue Advisor
  • Gibson, Donn & Crutcher LLP and Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP - Counsel to Borrower
Lenders

Bondholders, USDOT TIFIA

Duration / Status

Commercial close was reached on June 26, 2014. Construction began in November 2015 and is expected to be complete in late 2018.

TIFIA Credit Assistance

Direct Loan - $189 million

The TIFIA loan is backed by project revenues.

Financial Status / Financial Performance

Private Activity Bonds sold on May 13, 2015

TIFIA credit agreement was executed on May 19, 2015

Innovations
  • A Developer Ratio Adjustment Mechanism (DRAM) is available to the private partner if toll revenues are insufficient to cover operational and/or debt service costs over specified periods of time.
  • The private developer's construction cost, including right-of-way acquisition, is $30 million less than NCDOT's estimated cost if it had built the project.
  • Project improvements will be realized an estimated 20 years sooner than otherwise anticipated relying on state funding alone.
Related Links / Articles

Project Website

NCDOT Project Website

Executed Comprehensive Agreement
Contacts

Louis Mitchell, PE
NCDOT Division 10 Engineer
Tel: (704) 983-4400

Javier Tamargo
CEO, I-77 Mobility Partners
jtamargo@i77partners.com

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