Friday, 11 February 2011

Florida toll bridge nearing bankruptcy

Approaching the long causeway type bridge
Garcon Point Bridge links Interstate 10 and Pensacola Beach in Florida. It was commissioned by the Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Authority for US$95 million in 1996, and is a privately owned concession, but traffic volumes have not matched forecasts. In fact they are less than half the predicted 7500 vehicles a day (itself a ridiculously low volume for most toll roads). Consultancy URS undertook the forecasts and understandably doesn’t include the project in its portfolios. The question is whether consultancies that make such mistakes get sued for the losses due to reliance on forecasts that don’t prove correct?

According to the Wall Street Journal if the bridge authority can’t make the interest payments, the bridge could be turned over to its bondholders or taken over by the state. Both of those actions could happen through bankruptcy proceedings.

What’s best is the note on the website of the bridge:

“Executive Director: Vacant-no funding available”

If you can't afford an Executive Director, then surely it is a matter of weeks.

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