Feds give Cintra-Zachry taxpayer-backed, low interest loan for private gain

Link to release here.
Read about the public-private partnership the State of Texas inked with Cintra, a Spanish company, and Zachry, a San Antonio Construction Company, here. The low interest loan mentioned below is backed by the U.S. taxpayers and represents about a third of the cash brought to the table for the SH 130/TTC-35 project. It also exploits the taxpayers in order to benefit a private, for-profit company!

Monday, March 10, 2008
Contact: Nancy Singer
(202) 366-0660
FHWA 06-08

U.S. Department of Transportation Approves $430 Million Loan to Complete New Alternative to Congested I-35

WASHINGTON, DC – A $430 million loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation will give Texas the financial push it needs to help complete a new north-south highway as an alternative to the congested I-35 from Austin to San Antonio, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced today.

“We’re helping give this project the push it needs so commuters can experience less congestion, shippers less delays and the region less headaches,” Secretary Peters said.

The new southern portion of the four-lane highway is scheduled to link to the already opened northern one in 2012. When complete, the 91-mile SH 130 corridor will be entirely tolled and provide a new route to take traffic off the most congested section of I-35 in the central United States.

Cintra and Zachry American Infrastructure will finance the $1.36 billion project through the USDOT loan, bank loans and investor capital. Electronic tolling will make it possible for drivers to pay the toll without having to use cash at a tollbooth.

The loan was made possible through the Department’s innovative Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program which encourages private sector participation in the financing of highway projects with flexible repayment terms.

Secretary Peters added that the Texas project was another example of the private sector’s readiness to invest in U.S. transportation infrastructure and of an evolving federal approach to financing major capacity improvements.

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