A company from Spain has been hired by
the Texas Transportation Commission to build a multibillion-dollar toll road
through the heart of Texas.
The commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation,
announced the contract with Cintra – an international group of
engineering, construction and financial firms – on Dec. 16. In a statement,
TxDOT said it chose the firm’s plan over two other competing bids because “the
Cintra proposal provided the best long-term value to the state.”
The company will lead an effort to
build the Oklahoma-to-Mexico portion of the Trans-Texas Corridor, including a
$6 billion toll road between Dallas and San Antonio, which is planned for
completion by 2010, and $1.2 billion in additional transportation improvements
between Oklahoma and Mexico.
The entire project would be funded
privately, with no state money involved.
The plan was floated as a way to
relieve congestion on Interstate 35, which carries a significant amount of
truck traffic and other vehicles north from the border to such states as
Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and points north. The interstate terminates at
Laredo, TX, at a major border crossing with Mexico.
The Dallas to San Antonio toll road
would be a four-lane, divided highway 316 miles long.
In addition, part of the plan calls
for separate lanes for cars and trucks on some highways, including state
name is Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte SA, according to The Austin American-Statesman. Known
primarily as a toll road operator, the firm will work with San Antonio-based
Zachry Construction Corp. on the Texas project.
official told the newspaper that toll rates would be similar to those on other Texas
toll roads – 10 and 20 cents a mile for passenger cars and three to four times
that for large trucks.
project – in hiring a foreign firm – is a first in modern times, it is not
unprecedented. The first and perhaps most famous road in Texas history was El
Camino Real, which connected what was then the northernmost part of Mexico with
points south. It was also constructed by the Spanish – just over 400 years ago.