NTTA Gets Vote Of Confidence From The RTC

Posted in Privatization, Road Issues, Around The State at 9:28 am by wcnews

The Regional Transportation Council in North Texas has given their blessing to the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) to build SH 121. The first thing that needs to be pointed out is this isn’t a done deal yet. A vote of confidence for the NTTA was all this was, NTTA gets OK for 121 toll project.

The 27-10 vote Monday by the Regional Transportation Council sets the stage for a showdown in Austin at the Texas Transportation Commission, which is expected to make a final decision June 28. While the commission has previously said it will place great emphasis on the council’s vote, it is not bound to do so, TxDOT spokesman Randall Dillard said.

In other words, thanks for the advice, we’ll take it into consideration. But there is another issue in yesterday’s announcement that is not being challenged.

Critics say turning down the offer from Spain-based Cintra and its U.S. partner, JPMorgan Asset Management, will likely scare away other private investors. They say it’s unfair that the tollway authority was allowed to bid after Cintra’s proposal became public.

They also fear that the tollway authority could raise tolls to make up for cost overruns or traffic shortages on the Texas 121 project — whereas Cintra would have had to eat losses.

“We’re not here to gamble,” Denton County Commissioner Cynthia White said.

Corporations don’t just “eat losses” and stay in business, somehow the taxpayer will wind up paying for this if the traffic and revenue (T&R) study was inflated. There have been many issues around the country with the T&R studies, and if this one is correct it would the the exception, not the rule. If the T&R study is bad it matters little, if at all, who won this bid. When the drivers don’t appear then the tolls will rise. It will definitely be interesting to see on the 28th if TxDOT really understands the message from this just passed legislative session:

“The message we got was toll roads are OK, but we don’t want privately owned roads.”
-Ric Williamson, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission, which approved the projects.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Funny Story About Tolls And Local Control... said,

    June 21, 2007 at 10:24 am

    […] doublespeak. Also, to a lesser extent North Texas, it’s becoming clear that even local control of toll roads is not the answer to our, […]

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