HIGHWAYS: Va. picks private team for U.S. 460 toll road

Work to begin next year; will reduce congestion, provide emergency evacuation route, and will spur job creation

News VDOT October 24, 2012
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The commonwealth of Virginia has selected US 460 Mobility Partners to finance, design and build a new 55-mile stretch of Rte. 460 in southeastern Virginia. The selection was made after a two-year procurement process involving detailed review and evaluation of private-sector proposals. Construction will be financed through a combination of public dollars and tolls. The existing Rte. 460 remains free.

 

"The new Rte. 460 highway is critical to economic development in this growing region of Virginia," said Gov. Bob McDonnell. “This project is expected to create 4,000 jobs during construction and more than 14,000 long-term jobs when the new road opens. The new highway will stimulate business development in the region and accommodate greater freight traffic from the port of Virginia, benefiting the entire commonwealth. Chmura Economics estimates that the new highway will have an annual economic impact by 2020 estimated at $7.3 billion. The project will also provide a safer route for heavy truck traffic and another westbound hurricane evacuation alternative, in addition to improving connectivity for the region's military."

 

The new Rte. 460 will be a 55-mile four-lane divided, limited-access highway from Suffolk to Petersburg at I-295. It will parallel the existing Rte. 460.

 

There will be seven interchanges at routes 156, 625, 602, 40, 620, 616 and 258.

 

Following the signing of a comprehensive agreement and financial close in December 2012, design and right-of-way work is expected to begin in 2013, with construction starting in 2014.

 

Once the road is ready to open in 2018, tolling will begin at approximately 7 cents/mile ($0.067) for cars and 21 cents/mile ($0.213) for trucks. This equates to $3.69 for cars and $11.72 for trucks for the entire 55 miles.

 

Tolls will be collected electronically using E-ZPass and license plate video tolling. There will be no manual toll collection.

 

Key business terms:

 

• VDOT will oversee the work performed by the private-sector team during construction, and operate and maintain the facility after the project is completed. VDOT will also own the facility and all potential benefits of the project as well as set the initial toll rates;

 

• US 460 Mobility Partners will design and build the project at a fixed cost by a fixed date. It will take significant risks associated with delivering the project;

 

• A nonprofit corporation called the Route 460 Corridor Funding Corp. of Virginia will issue tax-exempt bonds to finance the project. The debt will be nonrecourse to VDOT, the commonwealth and US 460 Mobility Partners. The funding corporation will collect the tolls, adjust the toll rates and manage the toll collection system over the course of 40 years; and

 

• The project cost is $1.396 billion. Project cost includes design, construction and toll collection setup. Funding sources are as follows:

 

— Public funding from VDOT: $753 million to $930 million, with the lower amount possible if the commonwealth is successful in securing a low-interest federal loan from the Transportation Infrastructure and Investment Act (TIFIA) program. The federal loan would reduce the commonwealth's subsidy; and

 

— Public funding from the Virginia Port Authority: $202 million to $250 million, with the lower amount possible if a TIFIA loan is secured.

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