Dallas tolling authority's bid tops bid by foreign company

Link to article here. There’s been a TURF battle going on up in North Texas since the Regional Transportation Council announced Cintra, a foreign company from Spain, as the best value bidder for a private tollway on EXISTING Hwy 121. Cintra also won the exclusive development rights for the Trans Texas Corridor TTC-35 and Hwy 130 and is one of two foreign bidders for Hwy 281 and Loop 1604 in San Antonio. TxDOT “dis-invited” the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) from doing the project and due to pressure from area legislators, most notably Senator Florence Shapiro, the NTTA has been allowed to propose its own bid. What’s most egregious about the 121 project is that 16 of the 26 miles are already built and paid for with gas taxes! They plan to toll an existing roadway…the battle isn’t over the conversion of an existing road into a tollway, it’s about who gets the pot of money, Cintra or the NTTA!

However, this is still great news because it proves what we’ve known and advocated all along…that we can build our own roads better and more affordably than FOREIGN COMPANIES! We don’t need private toll contracts (CDAs), just common sense!
Tollway board bids $3.3 billion for 121 project

03:26 PM CDT on Monday, May 7, 2007

By JAKE BATSELL / The Dallas Morning News
PLANO – The North Texas Tollway Authority unveiled a $3.3 billion bid today to build and operate the State Highway 121 toll road, revealing a much-anticipated proposal that agency officials say is superior to the state’s tentative $2.8 billion deal with Spain-based Cintra.

Tollway authority board members unanimously approved a bid that includes $2.5 billion in upfront money to help pay for other North Texas road projects and another $833 million spread out over 50 years. The coveted toll road in Collin and Denton counties is considered to be among the most lucrative toll projects in the nation.

Earlier this year, state officials announced a tentative deal with Cintra that includes a $2.1 billion upfront payment and another $700,000 over the life of the 50-year contract. But that deal has not yet cleared financial and environmental reviews and has not received final approval.

Critics object to a number of provisions in the Cintra deal and have raised concerns about turning over a state highway to a foreign company and its private investors. In March, Texas lawmakers asked for the state-chartered tollway authority to be allowed to re-enter the bidding process.

The tollway authority’s bid now must be considered by the Regional Transportation Council, the body that oversees transportation planning in North Texas. The Texas Transportation Commission also must change or waive a previous agreement with the tollway authority spelling out the future of at least six North Texas toll projects.