Government to allow bundling of national highway projects

indexSource: The Economic Times, Aug 23, 2016

NEW DELHI: The government will allow bundling of public funded national highway projects that can be monestised by leasing out to private players for toll collection for a period of 30 years.

The portfolio of government funded operational highways projects would be prepared on the basis of geographical proximity that would be leased out to institutional investors under toll operate transfer (TOT) model.

Under the policy, infrastructure developers, private equity firms and institutional investors like pension and wealth funds along with the local operation and management partners can take up completed highway stretches. Under the TOT model, roads already built by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) are awarded to the private sector in lieu of an upfront fee. The private party operates the national highway stretch and collects tolls on it for a long-term period.

“Investors have told us that they are more interested in taking up more than one project as it would make their investment viable, help achieve economies of scale and synergy in operations,” a senior roads ministry official said.

The government has lined up around 104 highway projects to be leased out. These national highways have been constructed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Road transport and highways ministry expects a minimum investment of around Rs 75,000 crore in these projects.

“We are already in talks with Goldman Sachs, ADIA and several other global institutional investors. These firms have evinced interest in preliminary talks,” the official said.

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