WASHINGTON — Proposed toll lanes on Interstate 66 west of the Capital Beltway will require no upfront funding from Virginia and the state will get a $500 million payment from the company selected to build the lanes.
Cintra, Meridam, Ferrovial and Allan Myers teamed up to submit the selected bid. Ferrovial, which owns Cintra, is a Spanish company that has been involved in a series of similar toll road deals elsewhere in the country, some of which have fallen through.
“And just for icing on the cake, on top of all of that, Express Mobility Partners will write the Commonwealth of Virginia a check for $500 million that we’ll receive early next year,” McAuliffe said.
“Tolling revenue is very important. It is also very lucrative,” McAuliffe said. “If we are going to give tolling revenue away, we’re going to negotiate a very, very tough deal.”
State officials were willing to publicly finance and build the project without a private partner, which McAuliffe said helped negotiate a better deal for taxpayers.
The two competing bidders had been allowed to include up to $600 million in state funding in their financial proposals.
Construction is expected to begin next year and the lanes should open to traffic in 2022.
A higher toll is meant to discourage drivers from using the lanes in order to keep traffic moving. Lower tolls at times when there are fewer cars in the lanes are meant to attract drivers to the lanes.
Virginia plans to raise the HOV requirement from two to three people once the express lanes west of the Beltway open, expected in 2021.