Alligator Alley going up for bids in Florida

| Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A major east-west route known as Alligator Alley in South Florida is slated for the auction block as early as this summer, state officials have announced.

The Florida Department of Transportation published a request for qualifications – a document designed to attract private-sector interest in the roadway – on Monday, May 5.

FDOT officials said the winning bidder will make an up-front payment to the state for the right to “lease, maintain, operate and receive toll revenues” under a public-private partnership lasting 50 to 75 years. The department officials said they hoped to have a short list of bidders by the end of June with the winning bidder to be chosen in October.

Alligator Alley is a 78-mile toll road that was built in the late 1960s. It was designated as part of Interstate 75 when it was upgraded to four lanes in 1992 but remained tolled with limited access.

Future toll increases have not yet been determined. FDOT is asking future bidders to consider four possible scenarios, each containing a guaranteed toll increase in 2010 – ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent – with future increases indexed to inflation.

It is possible that FDOT could retain a small percentage of the future toll revenue as part of the agreement.

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