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CDOT and Plenary Roads Denver Kick Off Phase II of US 36 Managed Lanes Project

February 26, 2014 - Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - Business As Usual On I-25 as E-470 Continues To Provide Toll Service Delivery

DENVER, COLORADO — The state of Colorado and Plenary Roads Denver – a consortium of industry leading firms Plenary Group, Ames Construction, Granite Construction, HDR, Transfield Services, and Goldman Sachs – have concluded CDOT’s first public-private partnership on Phase II of the US 36 Express Lanes project.

“After years of planning and extensive input on how to accelerate improvements in this corridor, we are extremely excited to see further progress toward a more diversified, sustainable and less congested US 36 corridor,” said Don Hunt, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. “The new Express Lanes, repaving and improving of the existing, free general purpose lanes, the Bus Rapid Transit and new commuter bike path options will offer commuters more choice and reliability, as well as support continued economic growth of the US 36 corridor.”

Dale Bonner, Chairman of Plenary Group USA, agrees. “Plenary Roads Denver is honored to partner with the state of Colorado and communities along the US 36 Corridor in delivering this innovative, multimodal solution for Northwest-area commuters.”

The financial close, which included completion of the TIFIA federal loans for Phase II and delivering the private bonds for the project, follows actions taken by the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) Board and the Transportation Commission last week to complete the concessionaire agreement with Plenary Roads Denver.

“The US 36 Express Lanes project is an innovative way of approaching transportation”, said Mike Cheroutes, Director of the HPTE. “This is just the beginning of a strong, mutually beneficial relationship between Plenary Roads Denver and the state of Colorado that will see important transportation improvements sooner than planned with upfront costs being provided by the private sector, and ensure a faster and more reliable commute for residents of the US36 corridor. We also have the opportunity to continue to engage the public in a discussion about how we provide better mobility for goods and people in Colorado as we explore other possible tolled express lanes and public-private partnerships.”

Plenary Roads Denver will finance the project scope of work, including contributing its own equity to the project, and will be repaid over a 50-year period through toll revenue from the new Express Lanes. By utilizing this method of financing, CDOT and HPTE are transferring the risk of sufficient toll revenue coverage to the private sector; there is no contractual guarantee for a minimum level of revenue for Plenary Roads Denver.  Beyond a certain return, toll revenues will be shared between the state and Plenary Roads Denver with the revenue dedicated to transportation improvements in the corridor. In addition, the final decision on toll rates for the Express Lanes is always made by HPTE and the contract includes a set maximum for toll rates.

As part of the arrangement, Plenary Roads Denver will assume operations and maintenance responsibilities for I-25 Express Lanes in mid to late March.  While responsibility for operations and maintenance of the I-25 Express Lanes now falls on Plenary Roads Denver, ownership of the highway is always maintained by the public, through CDOT. The existing general lanes will also remain free for all commuters.

As part of the agreement, tolling services will continue to be managed by E-470, including billing and processing. Express Lanes users are reminded that they can benefit from 20% savings on tolls and exclusive deals, if they sign up for an ExpressToll sticker through the E-470 website.  Late last year, the HPTE Board also took action setting the tolling schedule for 2014.  In order to maintain the reliability of the travel speeds, the board adjusted the tolling based on the congestion periods throughout the day.  Specifically the toll will increase by 10 to 55 cents depending on the time of day traveled with the highest increase scheduled for peak rush hours, ranging for a total of $4 – 6 during peak travel times.  This dynamic pricing model supports the lanes’ continued effectiveness for transit and other users.

Commuters can also expect that the Express Lanes and transponders on the I-25 will continue to function as usual through the transition period.

BACKGROUND

Information on the US36 Managed Lanes project and High-Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) program can be found on the Colorado Department of Transportation website, at http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/high-performance-transportation-enterprise-hpte.

Introduction to Plenary Roads Denver:

  • Plenary Roads Denver is a consortium of Plenary Group, Ames Construction, Granite Construction, HDR, Transfield Services and Goldman Sachs
  • Plenary Group is the developer and consortium/equity lead for the project. As consortium lead, our role is to guarantee on-time and on-budget delivery of the project, as well as guaranteeing performance of the roadways and service levels over the 50-year concession. www.plenarygroup.com
  • Ames Construction is family-owned, full-service, heavy civil and industrial general contractor. http://www.amesconstruction.com/. Granite Construction is one of the largest heavy civil contractors and construction materials producers in the United States. Since 1922 their teams have built many of the nation’s largest, most complex bridge, airport, road, highway, rail, and mass transit projects.http://www.graniteconstruction.com/. The Ames Granite Joint Venture team was also the winning design-build contractor for the US 36 Express Lanes Project – Phase I.
  • HDR will provide design services. http://www.hdrinc.com/
  • Transfield Services will operate the concession. Transfield manages more than 12,000 miles of roads and 25 tunnels and toll roads globally.http://www.transfieldservices.com/page/Regions/Americas/
  • Goldman Sachs is providing financial services. http://www.goldmansachs.com/

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