Friday, January 30, 2009

Dallas police pension fund to invest $50 million in speculative toll road deal

Dallas police pension fund will invest in Tarrant toll road


The Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2009

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System plans to invest up to $50 million in the new North Tarrant Express private toll road, the pension fund's administrator said today.

The Texas Transportation Commission on Thursday selected Cintra, a Spanish company, to build the 13-mile mixed freeway and toll project in Northeast Tarrant County. It would be the first privately built toll road in North Texas.

Cintra will likely invest hundreds of millions of dollars as the lead equity partner in the project, along with two partners.

The Dallas police and fire pension fund expects to contribute 10 percent of the total cash investment, probably about $50 million, said fund administrator Richard Tettamant.

As a return on its investment, Tettamant said, the fund would expect about 10 percent of the profits from the toll road. He acknowledged, however, that profits would be small or nonexistent in the first years of the 52-year toll contract.

The pension fund has about 8,500 members among current and retired Dallas police and firefighters, he said. Its assets total about $2.7 billion, down from about $3 billion before the downturn on Wall Street.

Details of the fund's investment won't be finalized for months, possibly late this year.

Cintra expects to hire 2,000 workers for five to six years to construct the North Tarrant Express, a rebuilding of Tarrant County's busiest traffic corridor.

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