Hausdorfer/Mittemeier Firm Wins $60M OCTA Project
Irvine-based toll road operator Cofiroute USA has signed a $60 million, five-year contract to provide management services for a 10-mile stretch on the Riverside (91) Freeway once an expansion is completed in 2017. The segment—dubbed the 91 Express Lanes—runs from the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway to the Riverside County line. Construction is set to start late this year and add toll lanes, regular lanes and connectors, along with improving bridges and ramps.
Cofiroute signed the contract with the Orange County Transportation Authority and the Riverside County Transportation Commission. The company is expected to provide supervision of the toll system, customer service management and maintenance of highway equipment. It also plans to hire 39 new employees, according to Chief Executive Gary Hausdorfer. Cofiroute is part of Cofiroute S.A., which is billed as the largest private toll road company in France, operating more than 600 toll lanes and 750 miles of freeway. Cofiroute is a subsidiary of the Vinci Group in France, which had $51 billion in revenue in 2012.
We’d never heard of Cofiroute, so a simple Google search found their website. It also revealed who their large management team is — including some names many of us know or will remember, so we grabbed some text from the helpful biographies they’ve posted here:
Gary Hausdorfer, President and Chief Executive Officer — in part, “As a former chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Gary has intimate understanding of the pressing transportation needs facing fast growing metropolitan regions and the challenges of improving mobility to meet future needs. Gary was a founding member of a board of directors of the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) that created and shaped a historic public agency that would plan, develop and operate new toll roads in Southern California with private financing — a model of public-private partnership. He served as chairman and director of the TCA as it launched Orange County’s successful toll road system that employs the latest in automatic tolling technology…His history of public service includes serving four terms as mayor of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.“
Jan Mittermeier, Chief Operating Officer — in part, “Her more than 30 years of previous experience includes serving in various executive management positions in both government and private industries. Her accomplishments include managing a $300,000,000 expansion for the John Wayne Airport in Orange County and developing and implementing the workout plan that enabled the county of Orange to emerge from the biggest municipal bankruptcy in history just 18 months after Jan took over as county CEO.” We recall Ms. Mittermeier’s departure from County employ wasn’t especially cordial.
We’d be curious as to how many toll road operators bid for this business and how this local firm whose two senior executives with such close ties to local government scored $60 million in business.
OCTA’s Procurement group has been audited in the past to determine if they’d been operating fairly and without prejudice or inordinate influence. BUT CONSIDERING THE AUDIT WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY BIG LUCY DUNN AND HER OC BUSINESS COUNCIL, and involved past and present OCTA executives Stan and Andrew Oftelie, it’s more than reasonable to question its honesty and propriety — AND THEN, THIS $60 MILLION TRANSACTION.
Cofiroute USA was also a Silver Sponsor of an Association of California Cities – Orange County event. (ACC-OC’s CEO Lacy Kelly is third from right above). We’ve had plenty to say in the past about this faux government group — on whose Board Dunn also sits (as does OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson). Cofiroute also joined Dunn and her band of sycophants in seeing former OCTA CEO Will Kempton in the aptly titled “into the sunset” event. There are plenty of other examples where Cofiroute and the OCTA’s auditor are linked here.
This transaction smells — it’s another example of Orange County crony capitalism at work.