Press Releases

Take a look at some of the press releases we've written about the overall North Tarrant Express project and the new TEXpress Lanes.

NTE Mobility Partners Achieves Financial Close for Reconstruction of I-35W in Fort Worth – Project Continues Major Expansion of Traffic Relief

September 19, 2013

Fort Worth – September 19, 2013 – NTE Mobility Partners Segments 3 LLC (NTEMP3) has achieved financial close on Segment 3A of the North Tarrant Express (NTE), paving the way for the reconstruction and expansion of Interstate 35W in Fort Worth. This represents a significant milestone in the redevelopment and expansion of one of the most critical, and most-congested, corridors in the North Texas region and in the country.

“This is a huge win for Texas, and demonstrates significant market confidence in this public-private partnership,” said Nicolas Rubio, President, Cintra US. “Through this innovative public-private partnership, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) have utilized the strength of the private sector to deliver this project years sooner than otherwise possible and at vastly reduced public costs, while creating local job growth and fostering economic development for the region.”

The construction of Segment 3A of the NTE will be undertaken by NTEMP3 and is a $1.4 billion project that will rebuild 6.5 miles of the existing main lanes of I-35W, construct new, expanded frontage roads, and expand the highway with the addition of two TEXpress lanes (or managed toll lanes) in both directions, doubling the capacity of the highway. The 3A Segment extends from I-30 in downtown Fort Worth up to and through the I-35W/I-820 interchange. Construction is expected to begin this fall, with substantial completion in 2018. Segment 3B is being constructed by TxDOT and will be operated by NTEMP3.

NTEMP3 is led by Cintra US, a world leader in the private-sector development of transportation infrastructure, and Meridiam Infrastructure, who has extensive expertise in global public-private partnerships as an investor/developer of public facilities. The equity members also include the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System and APG. The project is being financed through a unique combination of public and private funds: $531 million from a federal TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan; $430 million in private equity from investment partners; $274 million in Private Activity Bonds (PABs) maturing in 25 and 30 years (which were 2.5 and 4 times oversubscribed respectively); and $127 million in public funds from TxDOT and NCTCOG.

“We have a track record in leveraging private investment to yield multi-billion-dollar transportation infrastructure assets in Texas and around the world,” said Joe Aiello, Partner, Meridiam Infrastructure. “While other transportation and infrastructure projects struggle to advance, we are bringing long-overdue traffic relief to one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.”

“The I-35W project has been on the drawing board for decades, but could not advance due to a lack of funding,” said Richard Tettamant of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. “Today’s announcement means that North Texas families, commuters and employers will soon have much-needed and long-anticipated relief. We are proud to be investing in the future growth of the Metroplex.”

Cintra US, Meridiam Infrastructure and Dallas Police and Fire Pension System are currently developing Segments 1 and 2 of the NTE, extending from the I-35W/I-820 interchange east along I-820 and SH 121/183. This $2.5 billion, 13.5-mile project is expected to be completed in 2015.

In addition to an innovative financial structure, the reconstructed highway will also feature TEXpress managed toll lanes, which will be implemented in Texas for the first time with the opening of the initial segment of the LBJ Express, the DFW Connector expected in 2013, additional LBJ Express segments expected in 2014, and the first two segments of NTE expected in 2015.

TEXpress Lanes help manage traffic flow by providing tolled express lanes that adjust according to traffic speed and traffic volume. This dynamic tolling model aims to ensure that TEXpress Lane users are guaranteed a minimum speed of 50 mph;drivers have the choice to pay a toll for a more reliable and time-saving trip to their destinations, or continue to drive along the rebuilt free main lanes.

“TEXpress Lanes will significantly enhance traffic flow in the region, especially for longer-trip commuters,” said Belen Marcos, CEO for NTEMP3. Local residents who do not need or want to access the TEXpress Lanes can continue to use the rebuilt main lanes, which will have less volume as drivers shift into the TEXpress Lanes. “Our goal is to enhance the quality of life for our area’s residents and commuters,” said Marcos. “Improved mobility equates to savings of time and money and a much-reduced impact on our environment.”

As with Segments 1 and 2, NTE Segment 3A, together with TxDOT-constructed Segment 3B, will be operated and maintained by the consortium under a concession agreement with the state of Texas, the length of which is 48 years. The state retains ownership of the highway at all times; at the end of the term, responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the roadway will be returned to TxDOT.

About Cintra US

Based in Austin, Texas, Cintra US is the American arm of Cintra, a subsidiary of Madrid-based Ferrovial. Cintra is the leading private-sector transportation infrastructure company in the world with experience spanning more than 40 years of innovative highway development on three continents. Today its portfolio includes more than 1,000 miles of managed highways worldwide, representing a total global investment in traffic congestion improvements of more than $25 billion. In the United States, Cintra US manages more than $12 billion in infrastructure assets. Cintra US-led partnerships in Texas alone have now helped the State multiply limited public resources seven times - to create more than $7 billion in major new infrastructure improvements, add thousands of local Texas jobs, and contribute to the long-term economic development success of the State.

About Meridiam Infrastructure

Meridiam is an investor/developer in public infrastructure with a commitment to improving the life of communities where it invests. Meridiam brings its substantial domestic and international experience in transportation to this project. Meridiam is an active PPP greenfield investor/developer in the market. Its 25-year funds align the long term interests of the communities and governments it serves, the natural asset life and investors’ interests.

Since its inception in 2005, Meridiam has closed 23 projects in the Public Private Partnership (“P3”) market and most recently won the Infrastructure Fund of the Year Award for 2012 by Infrastructure Journal magazine. As an initiator, developer, financier and manager of primary P3 infrastructure assets, Meridiam is at all times in partnership with the public and private sector. With approximately $3.1 billion of assets under its management and with offices in New York, Toronto, Luxembourg and Paris the Meridiam team has over 50 investment development and financing professionals dedicated to supporting the investment and management of Meridiam’s P3 investments. Meridiam obtained an ISO 9001-certification for its responsible investment process in January 2012.

About the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System

Created by the City of Dallas in 1916, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System represents 9,200 members and their families. The System’s assets are maintained for the exclusive benefit of the members and their qualified beneficiaries. The System’s funding comes from three sources: member contributions, city contributions and investment returns. The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System provides benefits for retired City of Dallas police officers and firefighters, and upon the member’s death, for their qualified survivors. The System is administered by a 12-member Board of Trustees, consisting of three active police officers, three active firefighters, one police officer pensioner, one firefighter pensioner, and four Dallas City Council members.

About APG

APG, a financial services provider in the collective pensions market, provides pension fund administration, asset management, management support and communication services to pension funds. For these pension funds and their 4.5 million active and retired participants in the public and private sectors, APG manages pension assets totaling about EUR 334 billion (month-end July 2013). APG administers over 30% of all collective pension schemes in the Netherlands.