The Blueridge Transportation Group, which is led by ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc. is pleased to announce that it has closed its TIFIA financing and priced its private activity bonds in respective of the 52-year Comprehensive Development Agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (“TxDOT”) to develop, design, construct, finance, operate and maintain tolled lanes, general purpose lanes and associated facilities along an approximately 10.3-mile portion of SH 288 in Harris County. It is expected that Financial Close will be reached on May 9, 2016. This project is the first toll concession in the Houston District. We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with TxDOT and to contributing to the community of Harris County.
SH 288 is a 60-mile highway running from the US 59 and IH 45 interchange in downtown Houston to the City of Freeport on the Gulf coast in Texas. The project includes the financing, design and construction of four tolled lanes (2 lanes per direction) within the median of a 10.3-mile section of SH 288 from U.S. Route 59 to the Harris County line at Clear Creek in Harris County, the construction of a direct connector to provide access to the Texas Medical Center, eight direct connectors at Beltway 8 and reconstruction of all eight direct connectors at IH 610 interchange with added access to toll lanes. The scope of the project also includes the operation and maintenance of the tolled lanes, general purpose lanes and associated facilities.
The Blueridge Transportation Group is comprised of equity sponsors ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc., Shikun & Binui Concessions USA, Inc., InfraRed Capital Partners Limited, Northleaf Capital Partners Limited, Clal Insurance Company Limited and Star America. The individual members of this team of P3 developers have unparalleled track records of delivering large and complex transportation P3 projects in North America and globally. The design and construction works will be undertaken by a joint venture of construction companies led by Dragados USA and its subsidiary, Pulice Construction, together holding 50%, and Shikun & Binui America (50%). The joint venture team members will employ over 1,000 professional staff and over 2,000 craft personnel in North America. Well-respected local firms James Construction Group and MICA Corporation have been integrated into the team as subcontractors to perform key elements of the construction work. Stantec Consulting Services Inc., which acquired Houston-based Kellogg Brown & Root’s Infrastructure Business Unit on December 31, 2015, will be responsible for the project’s design.
With the objective of exceeding TxDOT’s goals and expectations, Blueridge Transportation Group presented an innovative technical solution with “alternative technical concepts” approved by the TxDOT, aimed at improving mobility, connectivity, and an enhanced traffic flow and user experience along the corridor, and that includes the rebuilding of a significant portion of the IH 610 interchange.
With a total investment of US $1.064 Billion, the SH 288 project has an overall concession term of 52-years, with an expected construction term of approximately 3.25 years. The concessionaire company, led by ACS, will self-perform the operations and maintenance work.
The private financing closed includes a US$ 272 million tax-exempt private activity bond issuance underwritten by Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Barclays Capital Inc., along with a US$ 357 million TIFIA loan provided by the US Department of Transport. The equity will be contributed at the end of construction and is backed by letters of credit posted by the equity sponsors. In addition to the private financing, the State of Texas will provide a total of $17.1 Million of public funds during construction, which will be received by the Blueridge Transportation Group upon completion of designated progress related to the construction of ramps tying into the access road to the Texas Medical Center directly from the toll lanes.