Link to article here. The whole reason there’s such a dust-up in Austin and the reason why Senator Robert Nichols took it upon himself to halt any further CDAs from being signed is due to the non-compete clause and other horrific details of the Hwy 130 CDA with Cintra. TxDOT is in for a fight!
Privatization a done deal
March 29, 2007
Happening quietly in Austin last week, amid a clamor over whether to freeze toll privatization agreements, was the signing of just such a contract — the state’s first, and yet nary a peep was made.
The deal to extend Texas 130 to Seguin was signed Thursday, just one day after the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on a moratorium bill that would halt tollway privatizations for two years.
More than two thirds of legislators have signed on to the moratorium bill. But Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, and Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Round Rock, chairmen of Senate and House transportation committees, are sitting on the measure.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation is working at least half a dozen other possible privatization deals (called concessions), including one for 47 miles of toll lanes planned for U.S. 281 and Loop 1604 on San Antonio’s North Side.
The Texas Transportation Commission actually approved the Texas 130 agreement with Cintra-Zachry last June pending negotiations on 23 items. The 192 pages, plus 476 pages of support documents, were posted on TxDOT’s Web site since last summer.
Cintra-Zachry will pay to buy land, build, operate and maintain the 40-mile, four-lane tollway from south of Austin to Seguin. The consortium also pledged $25 million up front to the state plus potential profit sharing.
In return, Cintra-Zachry will collect toll fees for 50 years, which are supposed to start at rates comparable to fees for the northern 49-miles of Texas 130, of which the first segments started opening late last year. Increases will be capped to annual growth of state domestic product.
Construction on the southern leg could start next year and finish by 2012, said Frank Holzmann, TxDOT’s engineer over the project.