News

LA 1 Debt Refinancing Approved

"One to One" E-newsletter

November 22, 2013

 

View newsletter in original on-line format here.

 

 

LA 1 Project Debt Refinancing Approved by Feds
 

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has approved of refinancing the LA 1 Improvement Project's debt. The refinance deal lowers interest rates on the TIFIA loans and public market bonds, with the majority of the TIFIA loan having an interest rate of 1.89%. The project's debt package refinancing was made possible through a provision included within the current surface transportation authorization (MAP-12), an effort that was supported by the Louisiana Congressional Delegation and led by U.S. Senator David Vitter.  Senator Vitter’s position on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works enabled he and his staff to make sure that the LA 1 Project was eligible to take advantage of a new provision designed to benefit rural road projects.

Secretary Foxx's approval
to apply this provision to the LA 1 project is expected to save LA 1 toll payers $34 million over the pay-off period. The $176 million debt restructuring plan will allow the original toll rate schedule to remain in place. The LA 1 Coalition would like to thank Senator Vitter, the entire Louisiana Congressional Delegation, LA DOTD Secretary LeBas, DOT Secretary Foxx, and Governor Jindal for all of their hard work to enable the LA 1 Project’s refinancing.


Pictured at right:   State and Coalition officials, along with partnering financial institutions, finalized LA 1 Project Debt Refinancing documents last week in Baton Rouge. The $176 million refinancing deal is expected to save the project a whopping $34 million dollars over the pay-off period.
 
   








Design of Phase II of LA 1 Improvement Project Progressing

 

Preliminary plans for Phase II of the LA 1 Improvement Project are now 30% complete.  
Officials with
Phase%202%20Segmentation the LA DOTD, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and engineering consultant HNTB have concluded that a  140-foot span over the South Lafourche Levee System provides the most cost- effective structure to cross over the levee. The levee crossing sits within the 3,400-foot Segment C of Phase II. This segment is the highest priority since it will provide the necessary construction utility to complete Segment B further south.

 
 












Matching Funds Agreement to Construct Segment C Underway

 
 
The Coalition is currently negotiating with the State to finalize a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement by which the Coalition and three industrial companies will fund a collective $6.6 million in corporate match for construction of Phase II Segment C, with the State funding approximately $40 million. Following the signing of this agreement, the Coalition expects to work with the region’s legislative delegation and the governor to facilitate the awarding of a construction contract for Segment C in the spring of 2015. Design is currently underway.
 
Phase%20II%20Segement%20C



Toll Collectors on Site for Peak Hours

 
The cash lane toll booth at the LA 1 Toll Plaza in Leeville is being manned by LA DOTD employees during the peak hours of Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. - 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Automatic Toll Payment Machines (ATPM) collect tolls during the off-peak hours. For any customer that needs assistance using the ATPM, there is a “HELP” feature that will be monitored at all times and will allow communications to help talk customers through any transaction.  
 
 
Toll Tag Promotion Continues

 
The LA 1 Coalition is continuing to partner with LA DOTD on toll tag promotions to drive an even larger percentage of traffic through the toll tag lane, rather than the cash lane, by offering free toll tag stickers for qualified participants. Should you or your employees and friends want a toll tag to make your drive through the toll plaza even quicker, applicants only need to provide a driver’s license, an email address, and a minimum of $30 placed on a new toll account at the Golden Meadow Customer Service Center to qualify for a complimentary sticker tag (regularly $12).
 

 
More Highway Construction News

A project to improve LA 1 from Port Fourchon to the Lafourche Parish/Jefferson Parish line approaching Grand Isle is expected to get underway in January. Barriere Construction Company, LLC, with a bid in the amount of $1.54 million, will do the work. Enhancements include widening of the road bed, paving of four-foot shoulders, and armoring of the highway with large rock material to make it less vulnerable to storm surge damage.  
 
A year-long corridor study for LA 3235 is underway. This is the four-lane highway that most port traffic uses while traveling through South Lafourche. A full safety analysis, including reviewing crash data, a speed study, capacity analysis, signal operation, and analyses of all intersections, median openings, and crossovers are included.  The goal of the study is to produce a corridor plan for LA 3235 that will not only   improve safety by significantly reducing crash rates, but also improve efficient access for residents and businesses along the corridor.   The LA 1 Coalition appreciates LA DOTD studying this very busy corridor to ensure highway safety from U.S. 90 to Port Fourchon/Grand Isle.

 

 
The Coalition on Capitol Hill
 
The Coalition continues to meet with members of Congress and relative committee staff  to forward federal measures that can help the LA 1 Project.
 
The Coalition also continues to inform members of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and the Governor’s Office of Coastal Affairs on the increased vulnerability facing LA 1, and the resulting need for funding to complete the entire 19-mile elevated structure. Henri Boulet visited with members of the Restoration Council at their August 28 meeting in New Orleans.

 


 
Spreading the Word About the LA 1 Project
 
In October, Coalition Executive Director Henri Boulet was part of a panel presenting at  Florida Atlantic University’s sea level rise summit titled, “Resilience in the Face of Change.” The presentation was in a session highlighting adaptation, innovation and resilience on local, national and international fronts.

Currently, lower LA 1 south of Golden Meadow at Mink Bayou is experiencing a subsidence rate of 16.7 mm/yr. as determined by LSU’s GPS real time network. When you add predicted sea level rise to this expedited rate of subsidence, it is apparent that the at-grade LA 1 highway has a very limited life span for dependably serving our community and our nation. Fortunately, the majority of Port Fourchon facilities sit at five to six feet above sea level, so they don't face the same level of vulnerability as LA 1, which sits at only two to three feet above sea level. Planning to adapt our highway infrastructure to Port Fourchon/Grand Isle to meet even the most conservative estimated impacts of relative sea level rise is critical. Garnering funding to implement the planned improvements is just as vital.
 
Boulet also attended and presented an exhibit on the LA 1 Project at the 17th Annual Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Technical Symposium. Several service companies operating along the LA 1 Corridor had an opportunity to learn about the LA 1 Coalition’s focused efforts to secure the highway infrastructure to Port Fourchon and Grand Isle. This type of event helps us communicate the critical significance of LA 1 to industry and engage stakeholders as we encourage them to support and participate in the Coalition.
 
Boulet updated members of the LA State Joint Transportation Committee on both the progress of the LA 1 Project and its remaining funding needs during the legislators' statewide public hearings to present the Fiscal Year 2014-15 Preliminary Highway Program. Boulet stressed LA 1’s role in supporting access to thousands of new jobs coming to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

Boulet shared LA 1 project news with the leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at their Government Affairs Conference in New Orleans in October.

 

 
Welcome New Coalition Members!
 
MorganStanley SmithBarney
Newpark Resources
Schlumberger
Superior Energy Services
 
 
Thank you and all of our members for your support!

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