DALLAS – The Texas Transportation Commission plans to develop a major Dallas-Fort Worth freeway as a tolled public-private partnership and is re-issuing a request for qualifications for a similar project on an adjoining highway.

At its meeting Thursday, the TTC also approved a number of bond-funded projects and authorized a complete refunding of bonds for its Central Texas Turnpike Authority. The TTC oversees the Texas Department of Transportation.

The commission approved issuance of new money and refunding bonds from the Texas Mobility Fund, with amounts to be determined.

Commissioners also re-authorized up to $1.4 billion of additional State Highway Fund revenue bonds and up to $1.7 billion of refunding bonds.

The bonds were not issued after a March 2012 order. The current order provides continuing approval to issue new and refunding bonds the same as what was approved previously. The order also rescinds authority to enter into interest rate swap agreements and allows for refunding variable rate bonds into modes other than fixed-rate.

With demands for projects outstripping revenues, TxDOT is continuing to look for public-private partnerships to keep pace in high-traffic areas of the state.

The TTC is expected to approve a memorandum of understanding with the North Texas Tollway Authority Board to redevelop State Highway 360 in the Mid-Cities of Dallas-Fort Worth. 

If the MOU is approved by the Texas Transportation Commission, the next step would be for TxDOT and the NTTA to negotiate a project agreement.

The initial SH 360 toll project is defined as a staged toll road. TxDOT can pay for the initial work with project-backed debt, a federal transportation infrastructure loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (TIFIA) program, or cash from the state's highway fund, according to the agreement.

A similar proposal on Airport Freeway that intersects with SH 360 is seeking new bidders under expanded terms after an initial request drew only one offer. That came from Cintra, the developer of most private tollways in Texas.

The commission on Thursday approved the issuance of a new request for qualifications for the project that would include tolled lanes.

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