Knik Arm PPP wants more TIFIA cash(2)

The Knik Arm Bridge Authority has asked USDOT for increased TIFIA funding to the tune of $500m. The authority is in charge of a $1.02bn bridge project that would give Alaska its first PPP.

The Knik Arm Crossing project in Anchorage, Alaska, has applied for federal government assistance, filing a letter of interest (LOI) with the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) for greater TIFIA funding.

The Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA), the board overseeing the $1.02 billion public-private partnership (PPP), posted the LOI for TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) credit assistance on its website.

The LOI followed a July announcement that TIFIA had been amended to fund up to 49 percent of each eligible project. The TIFIA change resulted from the recent passage that month of MAP-21. The latter, short for the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, is a surface transportation funding bill signed into law by US President Barack Obama.

KABATA in late 2011 applied for $308 million from TIFIA for the Knik Arm Crossing PPP. The LOI raised the total federal funding requested by the authority to $500 million, KABATA said. The authority said the remainder of the project would be funded via $153 million in private activity bonds, close to $73 million in equity from the eventual winner, and circa $295 million in public funding.

The project is a planned tolled bridge with a 35-year lease and financed via availability payments. The 2.7-mile bridge would connect Anchorage to Port Mackenzie. It would also provide a second route to Matanuska-Susitina Borough, characterised as a “fast-growing” region.

Last October, KABATA laid out a bidder shortlist for the project, including:

– Alaska Infrastructure Access Partners, teaming Infrared Capital Partners, Bouygues, Colaska, QAP Weeks Marine, URS Alaska Moffat & Nichol, USKH, R&M Consultants and Macquarie Capital;

– Cook Inlet Passage Partners, a consortium of Meridiam, Kiewit, Manson Construction Company, VMS, Transfield Services North America, Transportation Infrastructure, Parsons Transportation Group, Golder Associates, Dowl HKM Dan Brown and Associates, BMT Fleet Technologies and KPMG;

– North Star Mobility Group,  a partnership between Hochtief, ACS, Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras, Flatiron Constructors, Dragados, HNTB Corporation, CH2M Hill Engineers, Alaska Interstate Construction, Arcadis, Kodiak Map, Hart Crowser Earth Mechanics, Bitttner-Shen, Denali Drilling and Gregg Drilling.

The October shortlist was revealed after legal wrangling between Anchorage and the Federal Highway Administration was resolved. The city had worried the construction work for the bridge would interfere with the “narrow corridor” to and from the Port Mackenzie.

KABATA agreed to adjust its project to prevent disrupting business at the port.

The Knik Arm Crossing project is envisioned as the first-ever PPP for Alaska, and was reinitiated in 2008 after an earlier incarnation of the project was cancelled.