Spanish company receives $570 million in start-up tax subsidies to build North Tarrant Express toll road
By Christopher Bjork, Dow Jones Newswires
The Wall Street Journal
MADRID (Dow Jones)--Spanish toll-road and parking operator Cintra SA (CIN.MC) has obtained $570 million in state investment from the Texas Department of Transportation as part of the development the North Tarrant Express highway, the department said in a release Tuesday.
A Cintra-led group was in late January conditionally awarded the deal, which covers about 13 miles of the planned North Tarrant Expressway outside Fort Worth.
Cintra and partners have agreed to put up the rest of the roughly $2 billion investment for the development of the stretch, as well as $450 million to operate and maintain the facilities over the next 52 years.
Construction is expected to begin late next year and the highway will open to traffic in 2015.
© 2009 The Wall Street Journal: www.online.wsj.com
Tarrant toll road moving forward after payout concerns
By MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER
The Dallas Morning News
AUSTIN – Texas transportation officials have received an all-clear signal from Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose concerns earlier this month about the constitutionality of a major toll road contract in Tarrant County had stalled the project.
Abbott had refused to attest to the "legal sufficiency" of the contract between Texas and the Spanish toll road company Cintra, as required by state law. Cintra has agreed to build the North Tarrant Express toll road with a mixture of state and private funds.
The North Texas Tollway Authority will operate the toll road, but the tolls will go to Cintra for 52 years.
But wording changes in the contract have resolved those concerns, and the Texas Department of Transportation said this week that the contract has been signed. A similar contract is set to be signed, also with Cintra, to rebuild LBJ Freeway in Dallas. Existing lanes will be rebuilt and remain free, but Cintra will add six tolled lanes.
On the contract signed this week, Texas will pay $570 million to fund part of the $2 billion project. Cintra and its partners will provide the rest through a mixture of equity and debt. In addition, TxDOT officials say the company's obligation to maintain the roads for 52 years will save Texas $450 million.
The North Tarrant Express will run 13 miles along Northeast Loop 820 and State Highway 121, from Interstate 35W to the State Highway 121 split in Tarrant County. The project will be a mix of free lanes and new tolled lanes.
© 2009 The Dallas Morning News: www.dallasnews.com
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