International firms show interest in Houston toll road

| 7/15/2011

In June, the Texas Department of Transportation issued a call to the private sector to assist in developing a strategy for a 180-mile tolled loop in the Houston area. Responses from nearly two-dozen firms, many of them players on the international stage, show the level of interest in getting this massive project off the ground.

TxDOT says the Grand Parkway, also known as State Highway 99, will be constructed in 11 segments and funded with tolls as a public-private partnership. Each segment will be two- to four lanes wide depending on how things shake out.

State law allows the agency to develop certain projects as PPPs or P3s. The information gathered from TxDOT’s “request for information” will help the agency draft a formal proposal and eventually put the project out to bid.

Toll opponents point out that taxpayers will be on the hook for billions in subsidies, as much as $4.8 billion, for the toll road while the eventual private operator will benefit from toll revenue for decades to come.

“At the end of the day, if there’s $4.8 billion in taxpayer money going into the deal, everyone around this state ought to be concerned about it because that’s money that’s being pulled away from fixing our freeways and keeping them free,” Terri Hall, spokeswoman for TURF, the Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, told Land Line Now on Sirius XM.

“That’s a huge issue for truckers, as you know. They are literally trying to turn Texas into a massive network of toll roads. It’s unaffordable and unsustainable.”

TxDOT has provided a tentative timeline for how things could play out.

By Jan. 11, 2012, the agency hopes to have a short list of bidders to choose from, and a winning bid could be awarded on or around June 28, 2012.

Foreign based firms make up more than half of the list of companies offering development assistance to TxDOT.

In alphabetical order, here are the companies showing interest in the Grand Parkway:

  • Acciona S.A. (Spain)
  • ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc. (Florida, roots in Spain)
  • Balfour Beatty Capital (U.S., roots in the U.K.)
  • BNY Mellon (New York)
  • CDE Inc. (Texas)
  • CH2M Hill (Colorado)
  • China Construction America, Inc. (China and U.S.)
  • Cintra/Meridiam (Spain/Luxembourg)
  • Edgemoor Infrastructure (Maryland)
  • FCC Construction Inc. (Michigan)
  • Fluor Enterprises, Inc. (Texas)
  • HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions (Germany)
  • Hunt Companies, Inc. (Texas)
  • I.S. Engineers, LLC (Texas)
  • Isolux Corsan Infraestructuras, S.L. (Spain)
  • Kiewit Infrastructure Group (Nebraska)
  • Macquarie Capital Inc. (Australia)
  • Odebrecht Development, Inc. (Brazil)
  • OHL Concesiones, S.L. (Spain)
  • Shikun & Binui (Israel)
  • URS (California)
  • VINCI Concessions S.A.S. (France)
  • Zachry Construction Corporation (Texas)

Land Line Now Staff Reporter Reed Black contributed to this article.