DALLAS - The North Texas Tollway Authority said yesterday that it had restated its 2008 financial statement to correct a $105.5 million accounting error.

At the same time, the agency said it was consolidating its accounting reports, which had been broken into three separate accounts.

The correction, coming in advance of an annual audit, was a result of misapplying a Texas Department of Transportation grant in the months of August and September. At the time, the NTTA had not met the technical qualifications for the grant, which had already been assigned to a construction project. Under the restatement, the authority's net assets will be lowered by $105.5 million and the grant will be moved to the months of November and December.

The agency is amending its filing with the Nationally Recognized Municipal Securities Information Repositories and the State Information Depository as required by its revenue bond trust agreement, officials said.

Authority chairman Paul Wageman said the restatement was "complex, but it has no impact on NTTA's overall financial well-being."

"The restatement is purely an accounting issue," he said. "Management wants to make sure that the financial report from each month is reliable. Essentially, the authority recorded revenue in August that it should not have booked until November after some additional requirements had been met."

Under its new accounting process, auditors KPMG will reconfigure 2007 financials on a consolidated basis and follow the same guidelines for 2008. The NTTA has not yet reported its final quarter of 2008 that ended Dec. 31.

"The new financial reports will enable the authority to provide additional clarity for the financial markets, investors, and the public," the agency stated.

Meanwhile, the NTTA's board this week approved a project agreement with TxDOT for construction and operation of a new State Highway 161 toll road valued at $1.1 billion.

Under the project agreement, the authority will pay $458 million as an upfront payment to TxDOT. The payment includes reimbursement for construction of Phases 2 and 3 of SH 161, both of which the department is responsible for completing.

In April 2008, the NTTA and TxDOT agreed on a negotiated value for SH 161, clearing the way for the department to begin construction. In October, after TxDOT committed to make a toll equity loan to the authority to strengthen the credit rating for the project, the NTTA exercised its option to develop SH 161, which will be financed as a stand-alone project.

Now that the project agreement is complete, the agency is expected to complete terms of the toll equity loan and submit the project to the rating agencies.

Located in southwestern Dallas County, the SH 161 project is an 11.5-mile link in the authority's network of tollways. It starts at SH 183 just south of of the NTTA's President George Bush Turnpike and ends at Interstate 20. Designed as a limited access toll road, it is scheduled to open in stages starting in August 2009.

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