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The Regional Transportation Council agreed Thursday to pay Spanish firm Cintra $3.6 million to cover costs the Spanish firm incurred before losing its bid for the Texas 121 toll road project, despite objections from some Denton County officials.
The road is now known as Sam Rayburn Tollway, and connects cities north and east of Grapevine such as Coppell, Carrollton and Plano.
Cintra, a publicly held firm known worldwide for building toll roads with private investment dollars, was conditionally awarded the toll project in Denton and Collin counties by the Texas Transportation Commission in February 2007. But under pressure from Dallas-area leaders, the state commission terminated that award in August 2007, allowing the Plano-based tollway authority to take the project.
During the seven months it held the project, Cintra incurred costs related to the federal TIFIA loan program, a stipend for unsuccessful work and other, unidentified post-bid costs, North Central Texas Council of Governments transportation director Michael Morris said.
Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads spoke against the payment, noting that Denton County wanted Cintra to keep the project. "For Denton County to now be looked at to remedy this is, in our opinion, inappropriate," Eads said.
Even so, the 40-member RTC approved the $3.6 million payment on a unanimous voice vote.
The money will come out of toll revenues generated on the tollway in these counties: Denton County, $1,961,063; Collin County $1,446,086; and Dallas County $253,065.
If the RTC voted unanimously, as the article states, then Collin County's representatives on the RTC must have agreed to send our toll money to this Spanish company.
It doesn't seem right to use tax or toll revenue to pay the expenses of a losing bidder. The last Texas Legislature authorized this kind of payment. Previously such a transfer of public funds was illegal.
Your representatives on the RTC are:
Joe Jaynes, Collin County Commissioner, Pct 2
Paul Wagemen, NTTA Chairman (from Plano)
Lee Dunlap, Plano Deputy Mayor Pro Tem
Brian Loughmiller, McKinney Mayor
Maher Maso, Frisco Mayor
One on my chief complaints with the RTC is that they do not take record votes. I suspect that if each member had to attach his name to a proposal, they might be more careful what they vote 'yes' to.
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