The US is a strategic and priority country for Ferrovial, confirmed by Cintra’s success there in early 2009. Two bids from Cintra (Ferrovial’s toll road management subsidiary)the IH 635 Managed Lanes project and the North Tarrant Expresshave been named Best Value Proposals by the Texas Department of Transportation. When those concession contracts are signed, those assets will be added to the company’s portfolio.
These two managed lanes projects represent a new approach to toll road management in that they combine tolled and untolled lanes in the same road. Tolls will be set dynamically on the basis of demand, and will vary throughout the day with the goal of providing users with high quality service. The managed lanes will be entirely electronic and barrier-free to ensure fluid traffic.
This recent success is the work of Cintra and Ferrovial in the US. The company commenced analysis of the North American infrastructure market at the beginning of the decade. In 2004, Cintra landed its first major contract: the Chicago Skyway. Five years later, the company has five contracts: two operational concessions (Chicago Skyway and Indiana Toll Road), one under construction (SH 130 in Texas) and two recently awarded (NTE and IH 635, both in Texas). Once those contracts are signed, Cintra will manage close to 388 kilometres of toll roads.
Cintra’s presence in the US complements that of Ferrovial Agromán, which owns Webber, the largest construction company in Texas. Additionally, Swissport, a Ferrovial Servicios subsidiary, provides handling services in 46 US airports. Two figures epitomise the importance of the US for Ferrovial: the company has 12,500 companies in the US, and revenue amounted to 812 million euro in 2008.
The US is a market with great potential for development due to its long-standing infrastructure deficit. Maintenance costs for the interstate highway network exceed the administration’s capacity and will increase with time. Because of this, large states are studying the scope for public-private partnerships in an effort to modernise that network.