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How SH 130's Credit Downgrade Could Actually Help Austin Drivers

The 85 mile-per-hour toll road that connects Austin with San Antonio is getting less traffic than planners hoped for.

In turn, Moody’s Investor Service lowered the credit rating of Cintra, the company that operates SH 130 toll road, by four grades. Moody’s says unless traffic increases significantly, the credit rating will continue to fall.

Kara Kockelman, a UT Austin Civil Engineering Professor, says the SH 130 Concession Company is made up of international partners that are strong enough to take the hit.

“This is still a recessionary period, I’m sure this is an issue in many locations and in many companies, this is one of the bigger ones that can sustain this kind of downgrade,” she says. “But really what they’re sustaining is those revenues on the corridor, that’s the bottom line for them.”

Kockelman says that the downgrade may actually benefit drivers in the short term.

“Drivers might be faced with the actually lower tolls, more incentives to use the corridor. I think it’s truck operators that we’re really hoping to see over there because I-35 through Austin is so congested and it’s a tough trek for a truck,” she says.

The SH 130 Concession Company says it anticipates the recent move by TxDOT to discount tolls for big trucks through next March should help attract more traffic.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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