Wednesday, June 6, 2007

NTTA proposes having 121 built by 2012

By Danny Gallagher, Staff Writer - Plano Star - Sunday, June 03, 2007
The proposal for the North Texas Tollway Authority submitted Friday to the Regional Transportation Council said it can have State Highway 121 built in five years.

The 1,000-plus-page proposal, released by the NTTA on Friday, proposes splitting the construction of the roadway into four segments and completing the entire project by 2012 if the state awards the NTTA the construction project.

Construction would take place between Denton Creek and Hillcrest Road, Hillcrest Road and Watter’s Road, Watter’s Road and east of the U.S. 75 intersection and the Dallas North Tollway and the SH 121 interchange. The total design phase for the project would take place between July 1, 2007, and Feb. 20, 2008, and the total construction phase would take place between Nov. 9, 2007, and March 20, 2012, according to the proposal.

The NTTA would also continue to maintain and inspect the road for the next 50 years. They would conduct annual inspections every September until 2057, and handle maintenance procedures on the roadway such as joint sealing, “moderate” pavement repair, overlay, sign refurbishing, pavement markings, and landscaping and irrigation management, according to the proposal.

Financing for the project remained the same as earlier estimates stated in presentations given to the RTC and at NTTA board meetings. NTTA said financing the project as part of the Dallas North Tollway system would include an upfront payment of $2.5 billion at the financial close and $833 million in guaranteed payments for a total of $3.3 billion.

The NTTA also said it would be able to provide a lower overall cost, and greater flexibility to respond to “shifting needs, priorities and requirements that should arise over the next 50 years,” according to the proposal. They also included several offers such as a board resolution that adopts the Texas Department of Transportation/RTC toll policy as the maximum rate for SH 121, an agreement to fund an escrow with $75 million upon acceptance of the proposal, and a commitment from a “AAA-rated” financial institution to provide $3.5 billion to ensure a financial close.

It also reiterated earlier claims that it would be able to keep the funds in local pockets.

“Every penny of cash flow generated from the SH 121 project for the next 50 years will remain in North Texas to fund regional mobility needs,” the report said
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