Indiana picks 4 finalists to vie for Illiana Expressway

2014-03-03T12:15:00Z 2014-03-03T17:41:09Z Indiana picks 4 finalists to vie for Illiana ExpresswayBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

The Indiana Department of Transportation has chosen four investment teams as finalists to make final bids to design, build and operate the Indiana portion of the Illiana Expressway.

The four were selected from among six that submitted responses to a request for qualifications issued in November. They will be eligible to submit final bids when a formal request for proposals is issued this summer, according to INDOT.

The Indiana Finance Authority and INDOT will meet with all four short-listed investment teams in the coming weeks to discuss the procurement process, according to INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield.

The Indiana finalists are Indiana Corridor Transportation Group, led by equity members ACS Infrastructure Development Inc. and Fengate Capital Management Ltd.; Illiana East Mobility Partners, led by Cintra Infraestructuras S.A.; Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands B.V.; and WM Indiana-Illiana Partners LLC, led by partners Meridiam Infrastructure Illiana IN LLC and Walsh Investors LLC.

Three of the four finalists selected by INDOT also were selected earlier by the Illinois Department of Transportation as finalists for the Illinois portion of the road.

Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands, B.V. put in a statement of qualifications only for the Indiana portion. That company is INDOT's preliminary selection to construct the portion of Interstate 69 from Bloomington to just south of Martinsville, Wingfield noted.

A finalist in Illinois, Illinois Mobility Partners, is not a finalist in Indiana. That firm was formed by equity partners Fluor Enterprises Inc. and Plenary Group USA Ltd. That partnership was bounced from contention in Indiana.

The Illiana Expressway would run from Interstate 65 just northeast of Lowell to Interstate 55, near Wilmington, Ill. It has a projected cost of $1.5 billion. Construction could begin as soon as late spring 2015.

The proposed expressway must still win needed federal approvals, which could happen this spring.

INDOT anticipates the request for proposals to be issued this summer will also include the Interstate 65 widening project from U.S. 30 to Ind. 2, Wingfield said.

Bidders will be asked to put in proposals for both the Illiana Expressway and I-65 widening, although the I-65 widening will be done as a traditional public works project and not a public-private partnership.

INDOT and IDOT both want the winning investment teams to defray the $1.5 billion cost of the expressway by providing some of the upfront money needed to get construction underway. In exchange, the departments of transportation in each state would provide a "milestone" payment to the investment team once construction reaches a certain point and then annual payments, known as availability payments, once the expressway is up and running.

One of the bidders that made it to the final round in both Indiana and Illinois, Cintra Infraestructuras S.A., already is well known in the region as the controlling partner and operator of the Indiana Toll Road and Chicago Skyway.

Walsh Investors LLC and Walsh Construction Co. is currently working on Indiana's most prominent public-private partnership, the financing and building of the East End Crossing bridge over the Ohio River near Louisville.

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