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Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals

4/7/2017



Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

City short-lists five firms to submit operator bids for New Orleans Public Belt


New Orleans Public Belt Railroad operates on about 100 miles of tracks and interchanges with six Class Is.
Photo – NOPB

The city of New Orleans on Wednesday short-listed five companies to submit final bids in a competitive process to become the private operator of the city-owned New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Co. (NOPB).

Earlier this year, the city issued a request for qualifications from firms interested in managing NOPB's operations and maintenance. The terminal switching railroad has about 100 miles of track — including nine miles that cross the Huey P. Long Bridge —serves the Port of New Orleans, and interchanges with six Class Is.

The city is seeking a minimum upfront payment of $20 million and $1 million per year in a 40-year lease from the successful bidder. After reviewing the initial proposals, a five-member city committee chose the following firms to short list, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

MidRail LLC, which offered a $55 million upfront payment and $76 million in total lease payments, and is considered the top-ranked proposer;

Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and Oaktree Capital Management, a partnership that offered $20 million upfront and $113 million in lease payments;

Anacostia Rail Holdings LLC, which offered $22 million upfront and $83 million in lease payments;

OmniTRAX Inc., which offered $30 million upfront and $78 million in lease payments; and

Watco Cos. LLC, which offered $24 million upfront and $69 million in lease payments.

Committee members unanimously agreed that all five companies be invited to submit bids in a final competitive round. A request for proposals is expected to be released later this month, with the winning proposer to be chosen in June.



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