Ten international banks in on Port of Miami tunnel financing
By Risa Polansky
Ten international banks have dug into the Port of Miami tunnels project, lending more than $340 million toward construction, now officially a go.
The Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade County, Miami and contractor team Miami Access Tunnel last week sealed the deal for the long-planned tunnels project, reaching financial close two weeks after a state-imposed deadline.
BNP Paribas, the Royal Bank of Scotland, BBVA, Calyon, Dexia, Grupo Santander, ING, Société Générale, UniCredit Group and WestLB provided about $341 million in senior secured loans for the project.
The federal government covered another about $340 million through a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan.
French construction firm Bouygues Travaux Publics and investment fund Meridiam Infrastructure — both part of the Miami Access Tunnel consortium — put in a combined about $80 million in equity.
The bank group speaks to not only the tunnel project's viability but also to interest in public-private partnerships, or P3s, here, said Chris Ruffa, lead banker with group administrative agent BNP Paribas, via e-mail from New York.
"The bank debt was oversubscribed reflecting the strong interest of lenders in the project. In the current credit environment where capital is still being allocated to the stronger credits, this represents a strong endorsement of the project," Mr. Ruffa said. "This is an important transaction. The involvement of these 10 banks illustrates the strong commitment of project finance banks generally to the Florida and US P3 markets as well as their confidence in the FDOT P3 program."