Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"This deal is complex..."

Foreign firm will take over toll road

May 30, 2007

By Kevin Flynn
Rocky Mountain News
Copyright 2007

The board of the financially ailing Northwest Parkway toll road voted this morning to accept a deal with a Portuguese-led foreign group for a long-term takeover of the 11-mile roadway.

A partnership of Brisa Auto-Estradas of Lisbon and Companhia de Concessoes Rodoviarias of Sao Paolo, Brazil, will take over the parkway, which forms the northwest segment of the metro beltway. The agreement is to be finalized by the end of August.

The length of the deal wasn't immediately disclosed but the parkway sought proposals for a minimum 50-year takeover.

While details of the agreement still need to be hammered out, it would allow the parkway to pay off its $416 million in bonds and much of the start-up loans made by Boulder County, Broomfield, Louisville, Lafayette and the Interlocken Consolidated Metropolitan District.

"This deal is complex and addresses all of the issue of concern to the authority," particularly debt, said Steve Hogan, the parkway's executive director.

The deal calls on Brisas to either retain or offer severance packages to the authority's current employees except for Hogan.

"As of today I'm looking for a new job," he said.

The authority had hoped to close the deal by next month but negotiations took longer than expected. As a result, bond payments due next month will partly come out of the authority's reserves.

Brisa operates toll roads across Europe and in Brazil. The parkway is its first toehold in the United States.

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