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Osceola Expressway Authority will seek up to $100 million from CFX for new toll road

OCX 2040 Master Plan
OCX 2040 Master Plan (OCX)

The Osceola County Expressway Authority will be looking to the regional agency for cash to attract private investors to build and operate a 60-mile beltway of toll roads.

The Central Florida Expressway Authority held a board meeting in Osceola for the first time Thursday morning. That's when OCX Chairman Atlee Mercer briefed the board members about the beltway project.

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OCX is drafting a request for letters of interest for public-private partners to build all or part of the beltway, which includes the Osceola Parkway Extension and future Poinciana Parkway interchange with Interstate 4. The RFLOI should hit the street in late February or early March.

"We'll probably need a capital infusion to leverage that private investment," Mercer said. "We might want to ask you to participate in that to the tune of $100 million – to ensure that this in fact happens."

CFX is in the process of drafting its 2040 plan now for the four member counties: Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole. The agency is in a strong financial position, with $4.7 billion in total assets and net revenues this year of $181 million.

Mercer told GrowthSpotter that OCX would not expect a lump sum payment but rather an investment spread over multiple years.

He said it's customary for the tolling agency to put up at least 10 percent of the construction costs for P3 projects. The cost for the beltway project could be in the billions - the Osceola Parkway Extension alone is projected to cost up to $800 million. 

"It's appropriate that CFX participate in this project because it will improve their connectivity and because it will be turned over to them when the contract is over," Mercer said. "That could be in 40 years or it could be 75 years. I say 40 because that would be the minimum."

The RFLOI is the first of a 3-step bidding process for the beltway. After evaluating the letters of interest, OCX will publish a Request for Qualifications and then invite qualified groups to submit formal proposals.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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