Firms present qualifications to operate toll roads
By The Star Staff
At least four major companies have submitted statements of qualifications in response to Puerto Rico’s solicitation seeking a concessionaire to operate highways PR-52, PR-53, PR-66 and PR-20, sources told the STAR.
Plenary Group, Sacyr and Abertis are among the companies that answered a request for proposals published by the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority (P3A) during the summer.
There are, however, more companies participating. While the deadline for the request for qualifications was September, the agency pushed it to October.
The P3A, in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (HTA), is seeking concessionaires to finance, operate, maintain and improve four toll roads, which are slated to produce $150 million in revenues, with PR-52 generating the most revenue.
The HTA recently completed a deal to restructure some $6.4 billion in debts. It is unclear how the proposed P3A will fit into the debt adjustment plan.
Under the restructuring plan, the HTA must establish a toll management office that is exclusively responsible for toll roads, separate responsibility for construction and maintenance between toll roads and non-toll roads, and transfer the Urban Train/Tren Urbano to the Puerto Rico Integrated Transit Authority.
The reforms were designed to create operational stability and improve the transportation sector overall.
Following the restructuring, HTA Executive Director Edwin González Montalvo said increases in tolls will begin in January 2023. The hike is expected to be about 8% and there will be annual increases.
“Tolls are the only income that the Highway and Transportation Authority has fixed,” González Montalvo said. “The tolls will be for debt service to pay the debt, which is now more reasonable. It will be a more comfortable payment in that sense because the debt is smaller.”