The Bond Buyer, a national publication covering the municipal bond industry, today named the East End Crossing of the Ohio River Bridges Project as its Deal of the Year for the Midwest region.
For more than ten years, The Bond Buyer has selected innovative municipal bond issues for special recognition. The prestigious competition highlights the full diversity of the communities and public purposes that are served by the municipal finance market, from the largest to the smallest deals.
Editors and bureau chiefs at The Bond Buyer evaluate bond transactions for innovation, efforts by government issuers to accomplish their goals in challenging times, the ability for a deal to serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which a transaction's proceeds were used.
Under a Development Agreement signed with Kentucky, Indiana was responsible for procuring the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the East End Crossing, which connects the I-265 outer beltway around the Louisville metro and promotes economic development in southern Indiana.
"Indiana's efficient eight-month procurement of the East End Crossing has been hailed by national publications and private industry as a model that other states should consider and adopt," said Indiana Governor Mike Pence. "Tapping into private sector innovation and competition was a win for taxpayers, with reduced construction costs and an accelerated construction schedule."
Indiana used an availability payment form of public-private partnership (P3), an alternative to traditional transportation bonding that leverages traditional state and federal highway appropriations to attract low-cost private sector financing. It transfers from taxpayers to the private sector risks of cost overruns, both during construction and for operations and maintenance during a defined time period. If the road isn't made "available" to the public in compliance with performance standards in the contract, the recurring, inflation-adjusted payments are reduced accordingly.
In March 2013, the Indiana Finance Authority reached financial close with WVB East End Partners (WVB), a consortium of Walsh Investors LLC, VINCI Concessions, and Bilfinger Project Investments. Construction for the East End Crossing began in May 2013 and the bridge is scheduled to open to traffic ahead of schedule in 2016.
Finalists from each region covered by the The Bond Buyer are in the running for the 12th Annual Deal of the Year Award, which will be announced at a Dec. 5 ceremony with the nation's senior municipal bond professionals in New York City. The 2013 awards recognize transactions that closed between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013.
More information is available in a video on The Bond Buyer website at: http://www.bondbuyer.com/video/deal-of-the-year-midwest-region1057118-1.html.