Companies that build private toll roads are pressing states to assume more financial risk of traffic not meeting expectations, a change that benefits the operators while threatening to increase taxpayer costs. Illinois and Indiana are among states offering set payments instead of the right to keep toll revenue, the standard financing method in the past. A similar approach is being used in Florida to expand highways in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for a bridge to Staten Island. The new financing arrangement decreases the risk for operators, which include Madrid-based Ferrovial SA and Sydney-based Macquarie Atlas Roads Group, after at least 11 private U.S. toll projects since 1995 have struggled financially due to traffic not meeting projections….
…States are agreeing to make regular payments, often on a monthly or annual basis, provided toll-road operators build and maintain projects according to the contracts they negotiated. Under the arrangements, states receive toll revenue and have to augment it with money from their operating budgets should traffic fail to generate enough to cover costs. The terms typically call for the states to take over the roads after several decades….