Florida Dept. of Transportation officials and their advisers aren’t likely to forget the year 2008. FDOT was trying to close on two different billion-dollar-plus public-private partnerships, but the financial markets were collapsing. In September, while still restructuring the year-delayed Port of Miami Tunnel (POMT) deal, FDOT accepted bids for a $2-billion Interstate 595 expansion. Just days later, emblematic of market conditions, the financial giant Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.
“Credit was just not obtainable,” recalls Jeff Parker, founder of Jeffrey A. Parker & Associates Inc., Chilmark, Mass., a financial adviser to FDOT. “The bid assumed $900 million in private activity bonds. But there was no market for that type of debt.”