LBJ Express Now Open to Drivers
Innovative P3 project completed three months ahead of schedule
DALLAS, Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- After four years of construction, the LBJ Express, a $2.7 billion highway reconstruction project in the highly congested North Dallas region, opened to the public today – three months ahead of schedule.
More than 150 dignitaries, community leaders, workers, and representatives from the developer and the contractor were on hand today for the final ribbon-cutting and grand opening on the Webb Chapel Drive overpass.
"The reconstruction of this significant highway corridor has been in the planning stages for decades and was long overdue," said Rafael del Pino, chairman of Ferrovial, the parent of Cintra. "We are proud to be here among our many visionary state, local and regional transportation partners – and representatives of the thousands of workers, businesses and local residents – that made this project possible and allowed us to deliver on our collective vision ahead of schedule. Together, we are providing long-awaited traffic congestion relief that will ensure that this region remains the engine of a vibrant state economy and will continue to be recognized across the United States, and indeed the world, for years to come."
The LBJ Express project is the state of Texas' largest public-private partnership (P3) project, and was the first Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA) project signed in Dallas County. Both the LBJ Express and the North Tarrant Express, which opened in October 2014, serve as a financial model for other P3 projects.
LBJ Infrastructure Group LLC, the developer of LBJ Express, is a consortium of Cintra, Meridiam Infrastructure, APG and the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. The project utilized four primary methods of financing, including the issuance of private activity bonds (PABs), $615 million; a credit line controlled by the U.S. Department of Transportation called TIFIA, $850 million; the investors' funds, $664 million; and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), $490 million.
Beyond the financing model, projects like the LBJ Express and North Tarrant Express exemplify extensive collaborative efforts among public and private partners that can be replicated elsewhere in the state and the country. "Public-private partnerships represent the future of infrastructure development," said Jane Garvey, chairman of Meridiam North America. "The lack of a sustained and predictable funding mechanism at the state and national levels will continue to thwart future infrastructure projects. Public-private partnerships are viable, real-world solutions that exist today to help us achieve our vision for the future."
In addition to greatly enhancing the corridor and improving mobility for drivers, the reconstruction project is attracting new businesses to the corridor. "We have seen substantial development already," said Antonio Alvarez-Cedron, CEO of LBJ Infrastructure Group. "Now, with the opening of this state-of-the-art highway and its almost double capacity, business is returning to the corridor as owners, developers and investors see the enhanced level of access and future potential for this vastly expanded highway corridor. Residents and commuters will find reliable travel times in their daily trips, improving the quality of their lives."
Dallas Area Rapid Transit connects North Texas commuters to the world four months early and under budget with the opening of DFW Airport Station on Monday, August 18.
The five-mile Orange Line extension from Belt Line Station to the newly rebuilt Terminal A at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport [Section I-3] will bring the nation's longest light rail system to 90 miles.
"Opening a project of this complexity early and under budget is a great testament to the work of our DART team and our colleagues at DFW Airport," DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas said. "Support from the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Aviation Administration was also crucial to beating the targeted opening."
Press Release from Morgan Lyons at DART