RTC Should Put Mobility Ahead of Politics for Highway 121 Decision

NTTA's proposal riskier than private sector plan

Letter to the Editor at the Dallas Morning News

According to Mesquite City Councilman John Heiman Jr., the competition between the NTTA and Cintra to build the State Highway 121 toll road in Collin and Denton counties is “all going to come down to politics” (“121 toll bids go under microscope,” June 14). Let’s hope that the Regional Transportation Council puts congestion relief ahead of politics.

A PriceWaterhouseCoopers evaluation of the two proposals found NTTA’s proposal to be far riskier. If traffic falls short of expectations, Cintra’s plan would insulate the public from the risks of lower-than-projected revenues. Cintra takes the financial hit. But if NTTA builds 121 and traffic levels don’t meet expectations, it could be forced to raise tolls on all of its roads to cover its debt and delay or cancel the needed new road projects it’s long been committed to building.

For commuters desperate for less traffic and congestion relief, these risks are unacceptable. The RTC should make its decision based on improving mobility for Metroplex residents and businesses, not NTTA’s desire to protect its monopoly status and stifle private sector competition.

Leonard C. Gilroy
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation
Houston, TX