Friday [5/29/09]was to have been the day when, at a public meeting in Naples, FDOT officials were going to open bids from private companies seeking to lease Alligator Alley. But the agency was forced to cancel the event because none of the companies expected to file a bid actually did.
While opposition apparently didn't play a role in the agency's failure to get bids, it's unclear precisely what persuaded the companies to steer clear of the plan.
All but one of the companies that had been expected to file bids either declined to comment or didn't respond to calls by The Miami Herald.
The Spanish multinational that did respond, GVI, did not cite opposition to the project, but suggested the main factors were conditions set by FDOT and the global economic recession.
GVI said in a statement that the consortium objected to a state requirement that bid offers remain valid for 150 days, and suggested the transportation agency expected too much money for the road.
''Financial proposals were required to be valid for a 150-day period, which is a long period considering the current financial environment and, therefore, made financing very expensive,'' wrote Patricia Cobo, a GVI spokeswoman.
While she did not list the amount GVI intended to offer for leasing Alligator Alley, Cobo said the sum the company believed Florida expected did not match company profit projections.
''The minimum price GVI believed was expected by FDOT was difficult to reach considering the financial constraints and our target IRR [internal rate of return],'' Cobo added.
Dick Kane, an FDOT spokesman in Tallahassee, said the agency's requirement to keep bids valid for 150 days is not extraordinary because agency contracts are generally required to be valid between 90 and 180 days. Kane said the agency has not set a lease price amount.