DALLAS - The North Texas Tollway Authority will apply $133 million of federal stimulus funds to its first toll project in Tarrant County, officials said.
The NTTA is working with project partners Tarrant County, the city of Fort Worth and the Texas Department of Transportation to meet deadlines for the obligation of approximately $134 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
Approvals of how the ARRA federal stimulus funds are spent must be completed by June 29 for the project.
The authority is also expected to decide this month whether to issue as much as $500 million of taxable Build America Bonds.
The NTTA's BAB issue would be modeled on the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's $1.38 billion of the new bonds earlier this year.
Although the bonds are taxable, the law allows issuers to receive a direct subsidy from the federal government of 35% of the interest paid on the bonds, which can save the issuer money over traditional tax-exempt munis. Or investors can receive tax credits worth 35% of the interest paid. The federal government will start sending out the cash payments as soon as July 1, the Treasury Department has said.
Issuers can use the proceeds only for capital expenditures, except for issuance costs and reserve funds.
The NTTA last week held a symposium for potential contractors on the Southwest Parkway interchange with U.S. 183 and Interstate 20. The project would be the first in Tarrant County, which is now represented on the authority's board. Tarrant County, whose seat is Fort Worth, borders Dallas County. Previous NTTA projects were extensions or connecting tollways to the flagship Dallas North Toll Road in suburbs north of Dallas.
The complete SWP/Interstate Highway 20/State Highway 183 interchange construction cost is estimated at $270 million. Stimulus funds of approximately $133.9 million are one half of the total interchange cost. This project is expected to be advertised in July, with an anticipated construction start date in September.
Meanwhile, the NTTA has hired a new executive director willing to live in the North Texas area. Allen Clemson, former Dallas County administrator, will replace Jorge Figuredo, who resigned abruptly last December.
Figuredo, who commuted from Orlando, Fla., said he quit to spend more time with his family, which chose to stay in Florida. Newly hired chief financial officer Janice Davis took on the duties of chief financial officer as the authority was lowering its projections for revenue in 2009.
Although Clemson has no toll-road experience, he oversaw projects in Dallas County from 1986 to 2009.
"Following a comprehensive national search, Mr. Clemson emerged as the candidate uniquely qualified to lead the NTTA as it seeks solutions to the region's transportation challenges of the next decade," board chairman Paul Wageman said. "His knowledge of the local landscape and administrative expertise will further the NTTA's ability to address North Texas' growing mobility needs."