Foreign Company Hopes to Operate E-470 Tolls…and Collect Billions
A foreign company is aiming to operate E-470, while collecting billions of dollars in tolls in the process.
According to The Denver Post, the company has offered areas in metro Denver over $4 billion for road improvements in exchange for control over the highway for the next half-century.
The company is known as ROADIS, which is a multinational toll road operator run by a Canadian pension fund.
However, public officials are resisting ROADIS' offer. They insist that the highway is doing just fine, and even voted against accepting unsolicited proposals in August.
If they did accept the offer, ROADIS would be able to collect the tolls on E-470 for the next 50 years — a move that would earn the company over $30 billion.
ROADIS is also proposing to retire the highway's current debt, which adds up to around $2 billion. On top of that, the company wants to offer a rewards program to lower tolls for the highway's frequent drivers.
E-470 currently makes over $200 million a year on average, with around 90 million vehicles driving on the highway annually. All of this money is made from the tolls, as no taxpayer money goes to the road.
According to the Douglas County Commissioner Roger Partridge, who is on the E-470 board, the county is mostly concerned that the company would increase tolls in the future.
The current executive director of the highway, Tim Stewart, is also wary of private involvement. He believes that E-470 is fine (and even improving) just the way it is.
ROADIS disagrees with these concerns, stating that E-470 is not being sold nor would its current authority lose control.
The company asserts that the current management would still be in charge of operating the road, and that they would simply be involved with the process.
Regardless, ROADIS will not get far if the tollway authority's board does not unanimously approve their involvement, something that current members don't "see happening any time soon."