Thursday, August 9, 2012

HOT Lanes and Tunnels are Hot and Free to the Taxpayer

$52 Billion Chicago Plan. Carefully targeted investment to modernize the greater Chicago region's highway system would reduce projected 2040 congestion by 10% overall and by 20% within Chicago itself, according to a major report from the Reason Foundation's Galvin Mobility Project. The plan includes a 275-mile HOT lanes network, a new Outer Beltway, and several urban highway tunnels. All the new capacity would be variably priced, and projected revenues of $58 billion would exceed the $52 billion construction cost, according to detailed modeling carried out for the study.

Steps Toward DC-Region Express Toll Network. On August 1st, Virginia DOT and the Fluor/Transurban joint venture that is nearing completion of the Capital Beltway (I-495) Express Lanes, reached commercial and financial close on the $940 million I-95 project. It will convert the existing two reversible HOV lanes to three reversible Express Toll lanes along 28 miles of I-95. Across the river in Maryland, the Maryland State Highway Administration is studying potential express toll lanes for the I-270 corridor, which heads northwest from the Beltway.

Largest Infrastructure Fund Exceeds $7 Billion. Infrastructure Investor reported on July 31st that the world's largest infrastructure investment fund, Global Infrastructure Partners II, has amassed $7.02 billion in capital, towards its target of $8 billion. Overall, such funds have raised an estimated $200 billion over the past decade.

Port of Miami Tunnel at Half-Way Mark. The massive tunnel boring machine that is creating the tunnel between the Miami area's expressway system and the Port of Miami on Watson Island has completed the first of two 4,200-foot tunnels under Government Cut. The next step is for the TBM to be turned around to dig the parallel tube over a six-month period. The $607 million tunnel is being procured under a 30-year concession.

Dutch Pension Fund Buys Stake in Texas Managed Lanes. Pension fund APG from the Netherlands has invested $300 million to acquire a 12.3% equity stake in the North Tarrant Express and a 13.3% stake in the LBJ managed lanes project. Both are being developed by a Cintra/Meridiam concession company. Both concessions are for 52 years.

Source of the summaries: Robert Poole, the Reason Foundation.