Port of Miami Tunnel developer looks to transit deal too
The chief operating officer of a company that helped to fund, build and operate the Port of Miami Tunnel told a county committee last week how the firm’s aims might mesh with the now-unfunded plan to add six transit legs in Miami-Dade.
Thilo Tecklenburg, COO for French group Meridiam, a global investor and asset manager specializing in public and community infrastructure, said his company is looking for early stage procurements and preparations in public/private partnerships (P3s) for transit that will come to a successful end and to align interests with the community’s.
“We need to focus our resources on projects that make sense for us, on projects where we feel the procurement process will be efficient and come to a successful end and that are accepted by the community.
“We don’t own any public assets,” Mr. Tecklenburg said April 6 during Miami-Dade County Commission Chair Esteban Bovo Jr.’s Policy Council meeting. “In the US, this market has gained momentum and we need to focus our resources on those projects that make sense for us” – projects that are funded to pay Meridiam back.
Mr. Tecklenburg said Meridiam is an investor/developer asset manager of P3s focused on design-build projects that the firm will also finance, operate and maintain. “One of our major projects is Port of Miami Tunnel in Miami, a design-build finance operate maintain in Miami.”
What Meridiam expects from the public sector before getting engaged is that the long-term funding is in place and that community outreach happens, he said. “You go right through city roads and community territory [so] you need to talk through all that with the community beforehand so they know what to expect and we also know how we are expected to mitigate any of those concerns. Those are elements that are really important.”
Meridiam plays “offense on the solutions side,” Mr. Tecklenburg said. “We want to come up with good solutions that fit everybody’s needs. We don’t come up with the ideas for transit,” he said. That’s the community’s responsibility, to define the need and identify the priority project and “see then with experts if the project is a good candidate and you have the champion in the funding in the community.”
Mr. Bovo said the policy council sought the discussion on different ways to do the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) plan, which is to add six new transit legs in the county. “One of the things we have done already is identify the SMART plan is the core project we want to come to fruition.”
Funding sources are still being looked at, he said. In the next month or two, hopefully there will be some “meat and potatoes” for the county commission to examine, he said.
Transit chief Alice Bravo said her department did some digging through Miami-Dade’s long-range transportation plan. There’s $217 million over the next five years for various projects. The money that’s generated here stays here, she said.
According to Mr. Tecklenburg, Meridiam is a global investor and asset manager specializing in public and community infrastructure with a long-term view. “Our funds are 25-year funds,” he said. “Investors in our funds are institutional investors. We look at projects on a national and international basis. There are 56 projects in our portfolio.”
The company was founded in 2005.