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Governor McDonnell Announces Contract to Build a Second Midtown Tunnel in Hampton Roads

Tunnel Tolls are returning to Hampton Roads !

Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has entered into a comprehensive agreement with Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC) to build a new Midtown Tunnel, rehabilitate the existing Midtown Tunnel as well as the Downtown Tunnels, and extend the Martin Luther King Freeway.

The comprehensive agreement has been under negotiation for almost five months between VDOT, ERC and the new Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OTP3). ERC is a joint venture between Skanska Infrastructure Development and Macquarie Group. The agreement was signed by VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley under Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act. It authorizes construction to begin in 2012.

Under the agreement VDOT will maintain ownership of the infrastructure and will oversee ERC’s activities. ERC will finance, build, operate and maintain the facilities for a 58-year concession period. ERC will also assume risk of delivering the project on a performance-based, fixed-price, fixed-date contract, protecting users and taxpayers from cost overruns and delays.

"Building a new Midtown Tunnel and the MLK Extension will increase capacity and provide for a more systematic flow of traffic, saving the average round-trip user about 30 minutes a day once the project is completed," said Whirley. "Other benefits include additional evacuation capacity as well as the creation of hundreds of jobs in Hampton Roads."

    The key components of the project include:

  • Doubling the capacity of the Midtown Tunnel by building an additional two-lane tunnel near the existing one under the Elizabeth River
  • Increasing transit service between Portsmouth and Norfolk
  • Rehabilitating the existing Midtown Tunnel and both of the Downtown Tunnels
  • Extending the Martin Luther King Freeway from London Boulevard to I-264, with an interchange at High Street
  • Modifying the interchange at Brambleton Avenue/Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk
    Financing and tolls:

  • The comprehensive agreement was signed for a value of $2.1 billion. This includes total project costs such as financing, designing, building, maintaining and operating the tunnels and the MLK extension. 
  • VDOT’s contribution is $362 million specifically designated to lower the tolls. VDOT’s contribution is reduced due to lower interest rates.
  • ERC will provide financing through a $422 million TIFIA loan, and approximately $1.3 billion through equity, debt and revenue from operations.
  • Tolls, will initially range from $1.59 to $1.84 per car for the tunnels and $.50 for the Martin Luther King Freeway extension for tunnel users and $1 for non-tunnel users.
  • Tolls will be collected electronically using E-ZPass, eliminating the need for toll booths. ( not sure how those without EZ Pass will pay ?)

For additional information visit: http://www.midtowntunnel.org/;

Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships:http://www.vappta.org/

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