Texas signs on dotted line for $2bn project(5)

The state has executed a contract for the North Tarrant Express project with NTE Mobility Partners, which includes Spanish toll road developer Cintra and European PPP investor Meridiam Infrastructure as equity partners. The consortium was conditionally awarded the project five months ago.

The state of Texas has executed a contract for the $2 billion development of the North Tarrant Express highway in northern Texas, five months after conditionally awarding the project to a group of investors and developers.

The project involves planning, financing, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining a 13-mile stretch of highway in Texas’ Tarrant County, located northeast of Fort Worth.

In January, Texas awarded the contract to the NTE Mobility Partners consortium. The team includes Spanish toll road developer Cintra and European public-private partnership (PPP) investor Meridiam Infrastructure as equity members. The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has also been approached about providing up to 10 percent of the equity in the project.

Under the terms of the comprehensive development agreement – a PPP-type contract under Texas law – the state will provide $570 million of the financing for the project. That money will enable the state to provide $2 billion of infrastructure development to the Fort Worth area, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said in a statement. The deal will also include a 52-year operations and maintenance contract valued at $450 million, TxDOT said.

Texas Transportation Commissioner Bill Meadows praised the project as a “testament to the benefits of private sector involvement and partnerships among all levels of government”.

Construction is expected to begin late next year, while the development is expected to open to traffic in 2015.