Peters approves private funding for Texas

| 10/23/2006

In one of her first acts of office, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters approved a request from Texas to use private-sector funds to pay for work on a highway near Dallas - work that would be done by a private contractor.

In a DOT press release, Peters said Texas can move ahead with issuing $1.8 billion in so-called "private activity bonds" for work on State Highway 121.

"The best way to get commuters moving again is to give states more options to pay for and build vital transportation projects," said Peters in her written statement.

As part of new surface transportation legislation signed by President Bush last year, states can issue and transfer to private companies up to $15 billion in tax-exempt bonds, known as Private Activity Bonds, to finance a range of highway, freight and transit projects.

According to the San Antonio Business Journal, Texas officials want to repay the loan using toll money collected on the new road.