Solving Traffic Congestion in Florida: I-595 Corridor Improvement Project
Traffic in and out of Fort Lauderdale on Interstate 595 was heavy, with no relief in sight. Taking action, the Florida Department of Transportation decided to resolve the issue through the addition of reversible lanes in the median of I-595 to accommodate the directional traffic congestion. Given the various demands on FDOT's budget for capital improvements, the I-595 Express Corridor Improvements Project would be broken into numerous small projects and built over a period of approximately 25 years. Looking for alternatives to provide quicker relief, FDOT, Nossaman, and FDOT's financial and technical advisors designed a deal structure that attracted a private partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the reversible toll lanes in return for deferred payments, known as availability payments. To ensure the quality of the project, the deal included incentives for good performance.
Just as the P3 deal was about to close, the financial markets fell into disarray, forcing the developer to scrap their plans to sell bonds to raise money for the project. Nossaman attorneys helped FDOT quickly revise the financial plan based on a bank financing strategy.
Achieving financial close in March 2009, the $1.8 billion I-595 Corridor Improvement Project is the first project in the U.S. transportation sector to use an availability payment compensation structure. With major construction completed in approximately four years, the reversible express lanes of I-595 opened for traffic on March 26, 2014.
The project captured major awards, including the American Road and Transportation Builders' Association's "Project of the Year" and Project Finance magazine's "North American Transport Deal of the Year."