Central Florida Democrats Want Answers on Why Delays Impacting I-4 Improvements

Demings, Murphy & Soto

Three freshman Democrats representing Central Florida in Congress–U.S. Rep. Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto–are starting to want answers as to why construction on I-4 is behind schedule and over budget.

The three Central Florida Democrats sent a letter to Florida Department of Transportation Sec. Mike Dew on Friday, asking about a report from Moody’s which found I-4 construction is more than 245 days behind schedule and more than $100 million over budget.

The three Central Florida Democrats released a joint statement on the matter on Friday.

“Central Florida is one of the fastest growing regions in the country,” they said. “Our residents deserve a world-class transportation infrastructure network that is efficient, safe, and reliable. Our delegation has been working hard in Congress to deliver much-needed transportation infrastructure investments for central Florida to ensure timely completion of ongoing projects. It’s very problematic that the I-4 Ultimate project is both behind schedule and over budget. Taxpayers deserve answers!”

“The I-4 Ultimate project is funded through a public-private partnership, which includes federal funds,” Murphy’s office noted. “Moody’s recently released report revised the project’s outlook from stable to negative due to three main factors: an estimated 245-day delay to the original substantial completion date of December 2020, a requested additional $100 million in compensation from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and a high level of accumulated noncompliance points. Accordingly, Murphy, Soto, and Demings requested a status update from Secretary Dew to learn more about the cost overruns, construction delays, and what FDOT plans to do to mitigate these recent developments.”

The three Central Florida Democrats wrote Dew and sent a copy of the letter to U.S. Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao.

“We write today to express our concerns over a recent Moody’s Investment Service report that concluded construction on Interstate 4 (I-4) is over 245 days behind schedule and $100 million over budget. We respectfully request a status update on this situation and why the 21-mile, $2.3 billion dollar, ‘I-4 Ultimate’ project is over eight months behind schedule and $100 million over budget,” the three members of Congress wrote.

“As you know, I-4 Ultimate is an important project for Central Florida,” they added. “The project is funded through a public-private partnership including federal funds, and because of that partnership, Moody’s periodically provides loan investment ratings. Moody’s recently released an investors report on the I-4 Mobility Partners loan and revised the project’s outlook from stable to negative due to three main factors. First, the report estimates a 245-day delay to the original substantial completion date of December 2020 to September 2021. Second, Moody’s indicated there is a related claim, associated with the delay, filed with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for an additional $100 million in compensation. Third, there is a high level of accumulated noncompliance points in the month of May associated with minor flooding which led to lane closures. We understand the FDOT maintains active communication with I-4 Mobility Partners and is engaging in additional project oversight. Accordingly, we would like to know more about the cost overruns, construction delays, and what FDOT plans to do to mitigate these recent developments.

“Therefore, we respectfully request that FDOT provide us with a status update on why construction on the I-4 Ultimate project is behind schedule and $100 million over budget. We thank you in advance for your attention to this matter,” they wrote in conclusion.

 

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