6 bid teams want to build Illiana Expressway in Indiana

2014-01-14T17:45:00Z 2014-01-15T14:43:09Z 6 bid teams want to build Illiana Expressway in IndianaBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

The five bid teams that responded to Illinois' request for qualifications for building the Illiana Expressway have told Indiana they want to do the same on the Hoosier side of the border.

In addition, a consortium led by Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands B.V. has thrown its hat in the ring for the 12-mile portion of the expressway in Indiana only.

The six teams responded Friday to a request for qualifications to design, build and operate the expressway issued in November by the Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Department of Transportation.

“The IFA and INDOT are honored to see interest from such qualified and experienced companies,” Indiana Public Finance Director Kendra York said.

IFA and INDOT will develop a shortlist from among the six to invite to respond to a request for proposals. It is anticipated responses will be submitted during the summer. Both states hope to conclude a deal by fall.

In all, more than 50 companies ranging from construction to engineering to toll road management firms teamed with the various investment houses to put in bids Friday.

The Illiana Expressway would run 47 miles from Interstate 65 just northeast of Lowell to Interstate 55, near Wilmington, Ill. It has a projected cost of $1.3 billion. It will be operated as a toll road.

INDOT and the Illinois Department of Transportation want the winning investment team to defray the $1.3 billion cost of the expressway by providing some of the upfront money needed to get construction underway. In exchange the investors would get a cut of tolls.

Some of the firms responding to the Indiana request are already involved in public-private partnerships in the bistate region and Indiana, including the controlling partner and operator of the Indiana Toll Road and Chicago Skyway.

Among equity investors that are leading the Indiana bid teams are Cintra Infraestructuras, S.A.; SNC-Lavalin Capital Inc.; and Walsh Investors LLC. All three also responded to the Illinois request.

Cintra Infraestructuras and Australian investment house Macquarie in 2006 won the right to operate and collect tolls on the Indiana Toll Road in exchange for a $3.8 billion lump sum payment to the state.

SNC-Lavalin Capital Inc. had expressed interest in being a private partner in the building of an airport at Peotone when former Democratic U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was spearheading that drive.

Walsh Investors is a main partner in the East End Crossing Ohio River bridges project, which is being developed as a public-private partnership and is now under construction.

Also responding to the Indiana request was a team led by ACS Infrastructure Development Inc. and another led by Flour Enterprises Inc. Both of those also already responded to the Illinois request.

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