- The 21.4-kilometre road is located in the congested Dallas-Fort Worth corridor. The concession is for 52 years.
- The NTE will have an electronic free-flow tolling system in order to ensure a high level of service and fluid traffic flow.
- Ferrovial is the largest Spanish infrastructure company in the US. It manages investments worth 5.225 billion euro there and is finalizing plans to invest another 3.2 billion euro.
Madrid, 17 December 2009.- NTE Mobility Partners LLC, a consortium in which Cintra has a majority stake, has successfully completed raising 2 billion dollars (1.36 billion euro) to finance the North Tarrant Express Managed Lanes project in Texas. Financial closure has been attained ahead of schedule, and the NTE is the only toll road in the US in which the private sector assumes traffic risk to complete funding this year.
The project has been funded from four sources. Firstly, NTE placed 400 million dollars of PABs (Private Activity Bonds) in the US municipal bond last Friday. The issue met with a very good reception from investors and it was oversubscribed 2.4 times.
Additionally, on 23 June, NTE Mobility Partners and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) signed an agreement under which the latter invested close to 573 million dollars in the project. The US Federal Government has also granted a TIFIA credit of 650 million dollars. Additionally, the three partners in NTE MobilityCintra (56.7%), Meridiam (33.3%) and Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (10%) contributed close to 427 million dollars in proportion to their stakes.
Enrique Díaz-Rato, CEO of Cintra, highlighted the importance of this project: The success of this financial closure is evidence of the soundness of the project, the commitment of local authorities and local communities, and the experience, know-how and credibility of Cintra and Ferrovial. NTE represents a milestone in the private development of transport infrastructure in the U.S., by converting this managed lanes project model into a new, viable tool made available to governments.”
An innovative project
The contract covers building, maintaining and managing 21.4 kilometers (13.3 miles) of the North Tarrant Express road in the important Dallas-Fort Worth corridor, one of the most congested corridors in the US. The project is divided into two segments measuring 10.3 km (6.4 miles) and 11.1 km (6.9 miles).
NTE Mobility Partners will begin construction of the road in 2011 and it is expected to be operational in 2015. The road concession is for 52 years, and the associated operation and maintenance costs over that period will amount to 450 million dollars at present-day prices.
The project involves upgrading the existing road (general purpose lanes and frontage roads), which will not be tolled, and building new tolled lanes to provide additional capacity. Tolling will be completely electronic, with no barriers, similar to the system that Cintra already uses on the 407 ETR in Canada. This will allow a larger volume of traffic to flow more easily. Tolls will be set dynamically on the basis of demand; prices will vary throughout the day with the goal of providing users a safe and reliable level of service.
Traffic on the road will be monitored in real time so as to keep traffic moving at no less than 50 miles per hour in all segments.
NTE Mobility Partners will also develop financial and development plans for the remainder of the corridor, which is 58 km (36 miles) long.
Cintra also heads another consortium, which was provisionally awarded the IH-635 Managed Lanes project (LBJ 635), also in Texas, in February 2009. The company is currently working on financial closure of that project. LBJ 635 is 27.2 km (17 miles) long and is located in the Dallas metropolitan area. Investment is expected to amount to 2.7 billion dollars (1.84 billion euro).
Investments in the USA
Ferrovial is one of Spain’s leading investors in the US and its largest investor in US infrastructure. Through Cintra, it has three toll road concessions: two are operational (Chicago Skyway and Indiana Toll Road) and one is under construction (SH 130, in Texas). Those three roads together represent a total investment of close to 5.255 million euro.
The two new projects in Texas (NTE and LBJ) will entail investment of close to 3.2 billion euro in the coming years. Ferrovial also owns Texan construction company Webber, one of the state’s leading civil engineering firms. Acquired by Ferrovial Agroman in 2005, Webber will work on the NTE project. Webber reported 366 million euro in revenues in 2008, and it increased revenues by 30% between January and September 2009. Ferrovial Servicios also operates in the US through handling subsidiary Swissport, which provides services at 48 US airports.