I-77 Express Lanes, USA
John Laing is a 17.45% shareholder in I-77 Mobility Partners, the company that has developed and is operating the I-77 Express Lanes project in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I-77 Express Lanes is a public-private partnership between North Carolina Department of Transportation ('NCDOT') and I-77MP to increase capacity and reduce congestion on the existing highway in both directions through widening 26 miles of highway and adding managed lanes.
Designed to alleviate congestion and enable faster, more reliable journeys, the I-77 Express Lanes is a project which has rebuilt the existing road and increased capacity on a 26 mile stretch of highway in the northern part of the Charlotte metropolitan area. The project included rebuilding the existing highway and creating managed lanes with variable electronic tolling to improve traffic flow and provide drivers with choice. The asset hasa 50 year concession period.
Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, and one of the fastest growing major cities in the US. The I-77 is a key north-south corridor connecting the major employment centre of downtown Charlotte with the growing residential communities of Iredell and Mecklenburg counties. With above average population growth expected to continue, the I-77 is strategically located in a catchment area exposed to positive economic and demographic trends and is well positioned for future growth while also promoting further economic development in the area. The reduction in congestion, and associated 'stop-go' traffic, coupled with pricing mechanisms designed to encourage the use of carpools and more energy-efficient vehicles should also reduce emissions and pollution to create more liveable local areas.
Since first investing in the project, John Laing has worked closely with its partners to de-risk the project through the construction phase and bring it into operation, including active support for technical enhancements to improve the user experience. The I-77 Express Lanes were opened in 2019, following which users were quick to adopt and travel times showed clear improvements. The long term-term growth prospects are underpinned by the outlook for economic and population growth in the Charlotte catchment area. Use of a public private-partnership has enabled the project to be delivered more quickly than traditional funding methods would have allowed.
John Laing originally acquired a 10% stake in I-77 Mobility Partners in December 2015. Towards the end of 2020, John Laing acquired an additional interest from an existing partner to increase its overall shareholding in I-77 Mobility Partners to 17.45%, taking advantage of an opportunity to increase its stake in an existing asset with considerable opportunities for further value creation and growth.