March 13, 2005
Trans-Texas Corridor takes another step forward

TxDOT and Cintra have agreed to negotiate a master plan.

The comprehensive development agreement signed Friday does not mention either sum, or give Cintra any exclusive rights to build or operate anything on the corridor, designated TTT-35. It also doesn't mention revenue-generating ancillary facilities such as rest stops and service stations.

Jose Lopez, Cintra's director of U.S. and Latin American operations, said the company is not interested in operating these unless TxDOT asks them to. He said the sums cited would be paid out over the next decade as the toll road is built if it is.

TxDOT spokeswoman Gaby Garcia said the agreement gives Cintra "a place at the table" in working with the agency to address transportation needs in the corridor, which would run east of Interstate 35.

Under the agreement, TxDOT will pay Cintra $3.5 million for its planning efforts and products, even if another developer is eventually chosen. TxDOT turnpike director Phil Russell said the department has "unfettered ability" to offer corridor projects to anyone.

"Why in the world would they jump into this if we always have that ability?" Russell asked. "I think they're very, very confident that they've got the best mousetrap."

I think they're also very confident that this will be one heck of a long-term gravy train.

Meanwhile, Robert Rivard relates the tale of a bad day on I-35 (you remember I-35, right?), while yet another rural county contemplates opposing the TTC.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 13, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack