"What's worse -- letting money get away to Fort Worth or to foreigners? Or is that the same thing in this side of North Texas?"
Rodger Jones/Editorial Writer
Dallas Morning News
Anything is possible. Colllin County is advertising for companies interested in developing and tolling a portion of the Outer Loop project across the county's northern tier. It would be a CDA (comprehensive development agreement), the likes of which the Spanish company Cintra almost had to build and toll SH 121 in Collin and Denton counties.
Here's the irony: Some of the roughest criticism of the Cintra deal three years ago came from Collin County. The argument was that the region should "keep the toll revenue here" by steering the deal to NTTA and not "let it go to Spain" under a long-term tolling deal. NTTA won, Spanish lost. It was a rough fight that spilled into the Legislature in Austin.
Now, acting as the Collin County Toll Road Authority, county commissioners have out a request for qualifications on the Outer Loop project. It was approved in August, and preliminary expressions of interest are due today.
It would be a surprise if any big international outfit got in on the loop at this stage of the game. The deal initially would call for building a three-lane road stretching 14 miles west of US 75. That's a lot of work to draw toll revenue for only three lanes initially.
But maybe there's a game-changer in dishing off development rights of some kind.
Today, the political spin is not keeping the money from Spain; it's keeping the money from getting away to Austin or to NTTA's Southwest Parkway project in Tarrant County.
What's worse -- letting money get away to Fort Worth or to foreigners? Or is that the same thing in this side of North Texas?
Another irony: Cintra and a host of other investors make up groups now developing the LBJ project in Dallas County and the North Tarrant Express project to the west. (See the LBJ Express page on Facebook.)
Stay tuned. The Outer Loop adventure sets Collin County on a collision course with NTTA's well-connected supporters in a battle in the Legislature next year over who has rights to any new toll road.
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