Officials admit NJ pension fund owns stock in Cintra and Macquarie

| 5/22/2007

New Jersey’s pension fund owns about $190 million worth of stock in two private toll road investors – Cintra of Spain and Macquarie of Australia – who may someday bid to lease state assets.

Some critics say the state officials could face a possible conflict of interest as they continue to pursue the possible leasing the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Expressway.

New Jersey Treasury Department officials confirmed to the Newark Star-Ledger this week that the state has been investing pension fund dollars in Cintra and Macquarie dating back to 2003.

In 2006, Cintra and Macquarie formed a private investment consortium that paid the state of Indiana $3.85 billion for 75 years of control of the Indiana Toll Road.

Tom Vincz, a spokesman for Treasurer Bradley Abelow, told the Star-Ledger that New Jersey’s state pension fund owns $82 million worth of shares in Macquarie Infrastructure Group – a subsidiary of Macquarie Bank of Australia – and $108 million in shares of Cintra Concessiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte of Madrid, Spain.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jon Corzine is expecting to receive a briefing soon from the state treasurer and transportation commissioner about how much cash the New Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Expressway could fetch in a long-term lease.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell recently learned that the Pennsylvania Turnpike could fetch between $12 billion and $18 billion in a long-term lease.