Thursday, January 3, 2008

Companies compete for I-69 construction

Nueces County Record - Jan. 3, 2008
Companies with Texas, U.S. and international experience are competing to develop the Trans-Texas Corridor-69 - one of the state's priority transportation projects.

Two private sector groups submitted proposals and qualifications to compete for the development of TTC-69, a multi-use transportation system stretching from Northeast Texas to Mexico.

"Inviting the private sector to invest in our transportation system is one of our strategies to meet the growing transportation needs of Texas," said Michael W. Behrens, TxDOT executive director. "We are focused on these five goals: reducing congestion, enhancing safety, expanding economic opportunity, improving air quality, and increasing the value of transportation assets."

One proposal was submitted by Bluebonnet Infrastructure Investors, led by Cintra. Team members include Citigroup, Earth Tech, Blanton & Associates, Maunsell, Othon and W.W. Webber.

A proposal was also submitted by Texas-based Zachry American Infrastructure and ACS Infrastructure Development Inc. Team members include Steer Davies Gleave, UBS Securities, Dannenbaum Engineering, ACI Consulting, Sociedad Ibercia de Construcciones Electricas, Dragados, and William Brothers Construction.

These proposals include statements detailing the groups experience in developing and financing transportation projects similar to TTC-69. Also included are conceptual proposals describing how the team would finance, design, construct, operate and maintain TTC-69.

The next step is for TxDOT to complete an initial review of the proposals, which could be completed next month. Teams with experience, qualifications and innovative engineering will be placed on a short list of potential strategic partners for TTC-69.

Once this is completed, approval by the Texas Transportation Commission is needed to continue with the competitive selection process. If approved, TxDOT will request detailed proposals from the short list of potential strategic partners. A selection of a strategic partner could be made by the commission by late 2007.

With no funding set aside for construction, a public-private partnership would allow development of the entire 600-mile multi-billion dollar project from Northeast Texas to Mexico to be accelerated. Even with private sector resources to fund the project, state transportation officials stress TTC-69 will remain a state-owned project.

On a parallel yet independent track, work continues on the initial environmental study that would narrow the current study area to approximately four miles wide. Subsequent studies will be needed to determine a final route for the project.

Interstate 69 is being developed under the Trans-Texas Corridor master plan. If environmentally approved, the project would be developed as needed and as private sector resources are available.

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