An economic impact study presented to lawmakers says the state would see a more than $1 billion increase in its economy if Corridor H was completed by 2020 instead of its current 2036 end date. Supporters of the accelerated plan say the money to complete the federally funded roadway is already available.
“I always get this question, well how are you going to pay for it? Well, you folks were able to give us another tool last year that we can now use to accelerate the completion of that highway,” said Steven Foster, president of the Corridor H Authority. “That is the concept of public private partnerships.”
Foster presented the implications of the study released last month to lawmakers during interim meetings at the Capitol.
Today, the construction of the corridor is 100 percent funded by the federal government at a rate of $40 million a year.
By utilizing the public private partnership model, Foster said the Authority would bid out a contract to design, construct and finance the additional miles of highway needed. With private funds, the state could build 10 miles of highway over the next four years and collect the federal dollars over the next 10 years to pay it back.
“(It’s) like buying a house. Very few people have the opportunity to save up all the money it’s going to take to buy their house. They usually have a mortgage and that’s basically what this does,” Foster told the committee.
“It allows you to go ahead and build the highway and let the contractor finance it and be able to put it in place over 10 years of pay back as opposed to the four years that it’s going to take to build it.”
Foster assured legislators through the model the private entity has no ownership claim to the roadway they finance for the state.
Corridor H will be 75 percent complete by next year.