Texas: Taxpayers Pay Spanish Firm for Failed Toll Road Bid

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

An unaccountable transportation body in North Central Texas on Thursday awarded $3,615,214 in taxpayer money to a foreign corporation for its failure to produce a winning toll road project bid. The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) of the North Texas Council of Governments approved the payment to Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, a Spanish company, as a “stipend for unsuccessful bidders” and for costs associated with applications the company made for loans that would have been backed by federal taxpayers.


Although Cintra received a conditional green light in February 2007 for its bid to construct a 26-mile extension of State Highway 121 as a toll road through Denton and Collin Counties, the state legislature within a matter of weeks expressed second thoughts about the deal. New legislation restricted the private development of certain toll roads and forced the consideration of an alternative bid from the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA), a public agency.

On June 28, 2007, the RTC voted 27 to 10 to approve the NTTA proposal which was described as “more lucrative” than Cintra’s. In return for an up-front payment of $2.5 billion, plus $1.5 billion in future payments, NTTA would have free reign to impose tolls on motorists for the next fifty years. The $4 billion in payments to the state would, in effect, be an advance loan of money that the agency expected to collect from motorists, less the substantial costs for overhead.

The switch to NTTA came in spite of Governor Rick Perry’s strong support for Cintra throughout the process. In 2004, Perry had even hired his legislative director, Dan Shelley, away from his work as a consultant for Cintra. After the company landed several major state deals, Shelley returned to Cintra in 2006. By 2008, Shelley had collected an estimated $300,000 from the Spanish firm for his work as a registered lobbyist.

The payments to Cintra were made possible by Governor Perry’s approval of legislation in June authorizing unlimited compensation to losing bidders on toll projects. Denton County taxpayers will pay the most, $1,961,063, to Cintra. Collin County will pay $1,446,086 and Dallas County $253,065. The anti-toll group Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) expressed outrage at the decision to send taxpayer money to Cintra.

“Wanna know why there’s no money for roads?” TURF Founder Terri Hall asked. “Here’s your answer. We’re paying losers for not even building the roads. The cronyism is only getting worse, and it’s at the expense of the taxpayers.”

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  • Stuki Stuki on Aug 18, 2009

    Man, these apes can't even figure out how to do private roads without charging those who don't use them. And sadly, the citizens paying for this will do exactly nothing about it, except pay up like sheeple, and engage in some utterly irrelevant muttering about how Obama is a socialist and Texas is not and stuff.

  • Unleashed Unleashed on Aug 18, 2009
    Yes, we need privatized fire departments right now, unless you want America turning into Russia, into a socialist country. What are you talking about? First of all, Russia was a full-blown Communist, not Socialist country. Secondly, there are things in this country that the Communist Russia would have never dream implementing of, like the multi-generational welfare, job banks, food stamps, affirmative action, just to name a few! All designed to create a permanently brain-dead underclass, dependent on the governmental protection/handouts. Well the job banks wasn't a governmental program. That was the only reason it's been forced out. This country is very well on the way towards turning Fascist. Too bad the vast majority of Americans are still totally clueless.
  • JOHN One is for sale on an ebay car donation site.https://www.ebay.com/itm/305579991767?itmmeta=01HYHVJ49MCC6HEWQY5AX9MX85&hash=item4725fca2d7:g:k9cAAOSw5V5mThFw
  • Scott So they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars and they are promising us a “Cheaper EV”? I wonder how that will look and feel? They killed the Fiesta because they claimed that they couldn’t make a profit on them and when I bought the first one in late 2010 they couldn’t deliver the accessories I wanted for it! Then I bought a 2016 Fiesta ST and again couldn’t get the accessories for it I wanted. They claimed that the components were going to be available, eventually. So they lost on that one as well! I don’t care about what they say anymore. I’ve moved on to another brand.
  • Michael S6 CX 70 or 90 will not be on my buying list. Drove a rental base CX 90 and it was noisy and the engine noise was not pleasant. Ride was rough for a family SUV. Mazda has to understand that what is good for Miata isn't what we expect in semi luxury SUV. My wife's 2012 Buick Enclave has much better Ride and noise level albeit at worse gas millage. Had difficulty pairing my phone with Apple CarPlay
  • Michael S6 What is the metric conversion between one million barrels and the number of votes he expects to buy.
  • NJRide This could give Infiniti dealers an extra product maybe make it a sub brand
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