Dulles Corridor Mobility Initiative Offers Private Investment for Toll Road Upgrades and VA’s DTR Share of Rail Service Costs

Jul 27, 2005 20:16 ET

Baliles Says Proposal Represents ‘A Twin Win for Commuters and the Commonwealth’

VIENNA, Va., July 27 /PRNewswire/ — A team of investors said today that under a plan it calls the “Dulles Corridor Mobility Initiative” (“DCMI”), it is offering to invest more than $1 billion to support the Rail to Dulles project and immediately construct 19 significant improvements to the Dulles Toll Road to reduce traffic bottlenecks and enhance safety.

Former Virginia Governor Gerald L. Baliles, representing the consortium of investors, said the team would provide the Commonwealth of Virginia with funds for the long-awaited extension of rail service to Dulles International Airport in exchange for rights to operate and maintain the Dulles Toll Road (“DTR”) as a concession for 50 years. Tolls would remain unchanged until at least 2010 under the proposal, a toll schedule anticipated in a resolution adopted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (“CTB”) in February.

Baliles called the DCMI program “a twin win for commuters and the Commonwealth.”

Under the investors’ proposal, which has been filed with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth retains its ownership interest in the DTR, while eliminating the state’s financial risks in operating and maintaining the roadway. The proposal would eliminate the need for CTB bonds to support Rail to Dulles, while also injecting private, at-risk capital into the project.

The Rail to Dulles project calls for extending Metro rail service in two phases — first from East Falls Church Station through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston and then from Wiehle Avenue through Dulles Airport to end at Route 772 in Loudoun County. Phase I is scheduled to begin in 2006; Phase II in 2010. Costs would be shared by the Commonwealth of Virginia, local governments, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and the federal government. Under the DCMI proposal, the consortium of investors would fund the state’s DTR-supported share.

In addition, the consortium’s proposal calls for investing private, at- risk capital into 19 significant improvements in the DTR from I-495 in the east to RT 28 in the west, including:

* New ramps for connecting DTR traffic with southbound I-495 and from I-
495 onto the westbound Dulles International Airport Access Highway to
eliminate unsafe lane weaving and reduce congestion for motorists
entering.

* Expansion and optimization of the electronic tolling technology to
provide greater capacity to process tolls four to five times faster
than manual processing.

* Rehabilitation of bridges and sound walls and resurfacing the DTR.

Proponents of the rail service note that the long-awaited rail service will accommodate as many commuters as the equivalent of building another three lanes of highway but with better air quality. By making the heavily traveled Dulles Corridor more accessible and less congested, the project will benefit not only commuters but also businesses and local governments by expanding opportunities for economic development.

Curtis M. Coward of Vienna, Va., representing Infrastructure Investment Group, one of the investors, said, “We believe the Rail to Dulles project is vital to economic vitality and quality of life in Northern Virginia, and that is why our plan ensures the project can go forward, even with the recently announced budget issues. In addition, because the Rail to Dulles project does not currently envision or fund any improvements to the Dulles Toll Road, we will provide toll payers with significant improvements to the DTR, an unexpected bonus, that will make their commute easier, safer and more efficient.”

The consortium’s proposal was filed under the state’s Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA), which encourages the development of major construction projects through partnerships with the private sector. Baliles said, “The Virginia General Assembly envisioned exactly this type of proposal to help expedite construction of much-needed transportation projects.”

Giusseppe Palma, chief executive officer of Autostrade International of Virginia O&M, Inc. said, “This project’s investment of private, at-risk capital could very well become a model for future multi-modal public-private transportation projects.”

J. Kenneth Klinge, of JKK Associates and a former CTB member, added that the DCMI calls for an extensive community information and outreach program both during the proposal process and the term of the concession. Sponsors of the DCMI will work with federal, state and local government officials, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, civic and business organizations, homeowner and commuter groups and citizens at large to keep them informed and engaged. They are launching a Web site at http://www.dullescommuterswin.com/.

Consortium members have long-term experience in both Virginia and on international projects. Below is a description of investors comprising the consortium:

* Autostrade Group of Italy, which has operated the Dulles Greenway for
10 years. It is the world’s largest private operator of toll motorways
and a leader in electronic tolling.

* John Laing plc of the UK, an investor, which is a major international
road and public infrastructure investor

* Infrastructure Investment Group LLC (IIG), which consists of two
companies:

* Trident Investment Group of Vienna, Va., a full-service project
development and transaction services consultancy. Coward, its
president, served on the Virginia Governor’s Commission on
Transportation in the 21st Century and is the author of Virginia’s
innovative Transportation Improvement District legislation. Coward
was pivotal in the formation of the taxing district which financed
improvements to Route 28, the Route 234 Bypass and the Prince
William Parkway in Northern Virginia.

* Public Private Solutions Inc. of Leesburg, Va., which creates
financing solutions and public-private partnerships to develop
public infrastructure projects. PPSI has initiated five other
proposals under the PPTA, including the Route 28 Improvement
Project currently under construction. Rosemarie Pelletier,
president, founded the company in 1992 after working on the team
that developed the Dulles Greenway.

Other members of the DCMI team include the following firms:

* Citigroup Global Markets Inc., the world’s largest commercial bank with
years of experience in Virginia debt transactions. Since 1997 it has
underwritten more than 160 surface transportation issues in the United
States and Canada with a par value of more than $31 billion.

* Clark Construction Group LLC, Shirley Contracting Company LLC and
Dewberry & Davis LLC, which will design and construct improvements to
the Dulles Toll Road. The firms have extensive experience with the
Virginia Department of Transportation, expertise in PPTA design and
construction and are currently constructing the RT 28 PPTA project.
http://www.28freeway.com/

* Clark’s projects include serving as general contractor for the
construction of FedEx Field, managing partner for the construction
of the MCI Center and as general contractor on the foundation
project for the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge under construction.

* Shirley is currently constructing the Route 28 interchange
improvements, the first northern Virginia project awarded under the
PPTA, and was the prime contractor on three phases of the
Springfield Interchange project. It was the prime contractor on
the Routes 28/29 interchange improvements, which were completed two
months ahead of schedule. Its many other projects in Northern
Virginia include providing design and build services for the secure
access lane to the Pentagon’s Remote Delivery Facility and serving
as prime contractor for the Routes 7/15 interchange project in
Loudoun County.

* Dewberry was the designer of the Dulles Toll Road and also worked
in designing the Dulles Greenway and its expansion. It has
design/build experience in the Route 28 Corridor Improvements PPTA
project and the Pentagon Secure Bypass.

* Hunton & Williams LLP, one of the nation’s largest law firms. The firm
has legal expertise in the PPTA and large debt transactions. PPTA
projects in which the law firm has been or is currently involved in
include the Coalfields Expressway, the Jamestown 2007 Highway
Improvements Project, the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvements Project
and the Route 495 Capitol Beltway High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes
Project, as well as the Pocahontas Parkway bridge and toll road
project, which was the first major construction project under the PPTA.
The firm’s project team will be lead by former Virginia Governor Gerald
Baliles.

* JKK Associates of Alexandria, a transportation consultancy with
recognized expertise in Northern Virginia transportation issues. J.
Kenneth Klinge, president, served as the Northern Virginia
representative on the Commonwealth Transportation Board from 1988-2004.
He is a past chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation
Authority, the Dulles Corridor Task Force and the Governor’s Commission
on Transportation Policy and served under two U.S. secretaries of
transportation.

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