The Texas Department of Transportation has released its master
development plan for the first phase of the Trans-Texas Corridor, a whopping
256-page plan that it describes as a “living document that will continue to
On the same day, state officials also made public a contract with a
private developer that has been held secret since the first corridor documents
To date, the plans for what would be the biggest privately built toll
route in the U.S. have outlined the state’s needs for new construction and the
incorporation of existing routes in the Interstate 35 corridor for the creation
of a quarter-mile-wide swath of truck lanes, car lanes, rail lines and utility
lines stretching from the Mexican border to Oklahoma.
TxDOT officials unveiled the massive plan Thursday, Sept. 28. It is
part of the continuing push to make the TTC-35 a reality. It includes 50 pages
of aerial photographs.
The plan contains two new elements not seen in earlier proposals that
date back to Gov. Rick Perry’s initial plan in 2002. This phase of the corridor
proposal includes an extension to hook up with I-35 south of San Antonio, and a
loop around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Private investor Cintra-Zachry has, according to the contract, proposed
to spend $7.2 billion to build TTC-35, which would be the largest private
investment in U.S. infrastructure to date.
Spain-based Cintra and Zachry Construction Corp. from San Antonio
proposed extending the toll road south of San Antonio to meet up with I-35 at a
The Dallas loop, referred to as Loop 9 in the plan, may sound familiar
to Texans, because lawmakers have been talking about such a loop since the
In order for the corridor to become reality, the Texas Legislature and
the Texas Transportation Commission must give approval at various stages, and
that can only happen after the Environmental Protection Agency signs off on
numerous ongoing studies.
“The plan lays out a public-private partnership but it does not set the
route for TTC-35, it does not authorize construction, it does not set toll
rates and it does not eliminate competition,” TxDOT Executive Director Michael
Behrens stated in a press release. “Those decisions are yet to come.”
The Federal Highway Administration and TxDOT must agree on the final
route, and the bidding process must remain open and not restricted to
Cintra-Zachry for construction.
“The master development plan takes into account issues covered to date
in the environmental study, but the plan will change as the environmental study
proceeds and as project development continues,” TxDOT officials stated in the
The contract with Cintra-Zachry that Gov. Perry had been keeping a
secret was uploaded onto TxDOT’s Web site Thursday.
The move to make the contract public comes deep into a gubernatorial
election campaign by the incumbent Perry and several challengers – something
that could affect voters, according to The
A senior transportation official told The
AP the contract was made public because the new master development
plan is an update by Cintra-Zachry to all previous documents.