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TTC, continued from page 11 *Texas Corridor Constructors, another joint venture whose primary partner was Zachry Construction, a well-established and privately owned firm in San Antonio that frequently partners with local, national, and multinational companies on large projects. TXDOT’s experts ultimately decided to go with Lone Star Infrastructure, whose team includes nearly 30 members, including Edelman, the world’s largest privately owned public relations firm. \(Former Ronald Reagan advisor Mike In the old days, the two losers would have gone home empty-handed. Instead, the Granite team and the Zachry-led team each received stipend payments of $1,379,219, according to records obtained from TXDOT. The next project in which stipends were awarded was the development plan for the TTC-35 project, the mega-corridor that will parallel Interstate 35. The winner in that competition was Cintra-Zachry, a partnership consisting of Zachry Construction and Spain’s Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte. The two rejected companies each received $750,000. One was Fluor \(which was on the winning end an entity called the Trans Texas Express, whose members included Skanska BOT AB, a global firm based in Sweden that builds hospitals, schools, and transport facilities; Telvent, a Spanish information and technology company; and a number of U.S. firms, including several based in Texas. Millions of dollars in additional stipends will be paid on other toll projects being developed under so-called “comprehensive development agreements.” Those projects include TTC-69, another super-corridor that will start at the Mexican border, skirt Corpus Christi and Houston, and jog northeast toward Arkansas, as well as several smaller toll road projects in San Antonio and around Dallas-Fort Worth. Transportation officials said the stipends defray only a portion of the costs that go into preparing the proposals. “We need to be able to reward these firms for submitting,” says Hope Andrade, a San Antonio businesswoman appointed by Perry to the Transportation Commission in December 2003. “These proposals are very expensive. A million is nothing for what they submitted. If they don’t get reimbursed, then we discourage innovation, and we’re trying to encourage innovation.” But records obtained from the state Comptroller’s Office under the Public Records Act show that some stipend payments are going to companies that are already are doing a landslide business with the state. Since 2002, for example, San Antonio’s Zachry Construction has been paid roughly $1.1 billion by TXDOT for various projects. California-based Granite Construction received payments totaling $335 million. \(Roughly $52.5 million of that went to both Granite and its local partner, J.D. Abrams, an Austin-based company that also does hundreds of millions of Lone Star Infrastructure has received approximately $825 million. Andrade and other TXDOT officials emphasize that the department gets to keep the intellectual ideas contained in the losing proposals and use them on other projects. But when pressed, they could cite no new ideas that sprung from the losing SH 130 proposals. Commissioner John W. Johnson, appointed to the commission in 1999 by then-Gov. George W. Bush, says TXDOT did glean some innovative ideas from the toll lane project on Interstate 635 in Dallas. Originally a tunnel was envisioned, he says, but shifting some of the lanes below ground level will save money. This summer, as rallies and demonstrations against the Trans-Texas Corridor erupted around the state, Secretary of State Roger Williams, Texas Transportation Commissioner Ted and numerous TXDOT employees went to Wall Street to pitch their “Texas style” public-private partnerships, or PPPs as they’re known in the alphabet-soup world of road-building. Phillip Russell, engineer, lawyer, and director of the Texas Turnpike Authority Division, sounded more like a hotdog vendor than a public official involved in overseeing multimillion and even billion-dollar deals as he spoke frequently of revenue opportunities available to private-sector developers. In a forum held for potential developers in New York City, he described a tolled interstate project in Dallas as “a package you all can sink your teeth into.” Of State Highway 121, another Dallas project, he said, “This is your opportunity to sharpen your pencils?’ Addressing the TTC-69 corridor, he remarked, “If you haven’t dug into this one, you’ve got 52 hours to submit?’ XD OT’s pitch for private partners is drawing interest from around the globe. One of the most active firms is Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte. Its parent is Grupo Ferrovial. Both are publicly traded companies based in Madrid, Spain. Cintra has investments in 17 toll roads in six countries. In a proposal for a Virginia project, Cintra boasted that it had become “a strategic partner of the State of Texas, obtaining a 50-year contract worth up to $36.7 billion to develop the Trans Texas Corridor.” Cintra, along with home-grown Zachry Construction, has been given the green light to develop the master plan for the TTC-35. The partnership also has been awardedwithout any competitive processthe go-ahead to develop the remaining 40 miles of SH 130, which will run from Austin to Seguin. The partnership is also competing for toll road projects in San Antonio and Dallas, and wants to build a 600-mile freight line that will run from DallasFort Worth to the Mexican border. On the TTC-69 project, Cintra and Zachry have divided into two separate teams and are competing against each other. Another big player in the global transportation market is Australia’s Macquarie Infrastructure Group, which is part of Macquarie Bank, an investment bank named after a former governor who helped transform Australia from a penal colony to a viable, dynamic country. Macquarie, which manages more than 30 toll roads in nine countries, has 26 THE TEXAS OBSERVER DECEMBER 15, 2006