"Texas Transportation Commission voted unanimously to begin negotiations with Spain-based Cintra"
State negotiating with Spanish firm on initial phase
AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry's Trans Texas Corridor , a network of new tollways, railways and utility lines crisscrossing the state, took a major step forward Thursday with the selection of a contractor to begin developing the first phase.
The Texas Transportation Commission voted unanimously to begin negotiations with Spain-based Cintra, one of the world's largest private transportation developers, to begin work on an 800-mile traffic and trade route from Oklahoma to Mexico.
Cintra was one of the three groups to submit detailed proposals to accomplish Perry's call for a 4,000-mile transportation network he says is needed to power the Texas economy and keep commuter traffic moving.
Perry laid out his plan in 2002 with a price tag of at least $175 billion.
While most of the details remain secret during contract negotiations, Cintra's plan calls for developing $6 billion in new roadways roughly parallel to Interstate 35 by 2010.
The first phase would be 316 miles of new four-lane divided highway from Dallas to San Antonio. Construction could begin as soon as the plan clears environmental hurdles and scrutiny in public hearings.
Other projects in Cintra's proposal include freight rail and utility lines and a long-term projection of potential high-speed passenger rail.
Trans Texas Corridor brings in private funding which recovers its investment from tolls.
The Associated Press: