Examiner »

Article examines issues facing State Highway 130, a privately-operated tollway in Texas currently operated by Spain-based Cintra. When it first opened the tollway faced intense skepticism as local residents cringed at the idea of putting state sovereignty over its public infrastructure to a private entity. There was also outrage when Texas DOT raised the speed limit on the route to 85 MPH one of the highest in the nation, and decreased the speed limits on roads and highways nearby. Many perceived this as a blatant attempt to secure higher traffic volume on SH-130. However recent decisions by the DOT to raise the speed limits on the nearby highways can be interpreted as a sign that anti-privatization sentiment in Texas is making a difference. Further evidence of this is the lower than anticipated traffic on SH-130, Moody’s announced in March 2013 that it would be reviewing Cintra’s credit rating and that the company faces a likely downgrade. This comes after news in 2011 that the tollway’s revenue was insufficient to cover the necessary debt payments.