Just as the Florida Department of Transportation sought help from the private sector to build the I-4 Ultimate Project, the Osceola County Expressway Authority will look for private investors to front the money for its toll road network.
OCX will be publishing a request for letters of interest (RFLOI) later this month for public-private partners (P3) - not just for the Osecola Parkway Extension but for the entire 60-mile beltway system that eventually links to I-4.
"We want to get the RFLOI on the street as soon as possible," Chairman Atlee Mercer said. "Our goal would be for it to go out Tuesday."
The beltway loop encompasses Osceola's entire urban growth boundary and includes the Poinciana Parkway segment, now under construction by Jr. Davis Construction and scheduled to open next July. It could eventually become a part of the consolidated Central Florida Expressway System that will include Orlando and its northern beltway system.
Project Development and Environmental studies (PD&E) are underway for the Southport Connector Expressway (13 miles), the Osceola Parkway Extension (9 miles) and the Poinciana Parkway I-4 connector. At the conclusion of the PD&E study, OCX will have to prepare an Interchange Justification Report (IJR) to receive approval from the Federal Highway Administration for the I-4 interchange.
The final segment of the beltway is the 25-mile Northeast Connector, which links Southport to Osceola Parkway.
"If the PD&E isn't underway yet for the Northeast Connector, then the P3 could include that as well," said Jeff Jones, executive director for OCX. "It could be for design, build, financing and operating - or any part of that."
Jo Thacker, attorney for the governing board, told GrowthSpotter the RFLOI would be posted before the November board meeting. "It will be on a Tuesday, but it won't be next Tuesday," she said.
AECOM, which has served as consulting engineer for the Poinciana Parkway project, was selected to serve in the same capacity for Osceola Parkway Extension and to oversee the 3P process for the beltway system.
Jones said the RFLOI would be kept purposely vague to allow for flexibility in the responses.
"They have the option of responding to this even if they only want to pick up the Osceola Parkway Extension," he said.