The Texas Transportation Dept. late last month said that a $1-billion public-private partnership (P3) proposal from a Spanish-Israeli-US team to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a toll road in Harris County, the first such project type in the Houston area, is "best value," according to a March 3 announcement by the Israel-based team contractor Shikun & Binui.

It is part of the Blueridge Transportation Group, a consortium vieing for the SH 288 toll lanes project that also includes Spain-based ACS Infrastructure Development Inc., InfraRed Capital Partners, ACS unit Dragados USA Inc. and Arizona-based Pulice Construction Inc.

The apparent win would be the Israeli firm's first in the U.S., it says. Project construction costs are estimated at $800 million.

Upon project award, the consortium will execute a concession agreement with TxDOT and to secure project financing, says Shikun & Binui.

It says two other Spanish firm-led teams also submitted proposals.

The 10.3-mile road will connect the county to Houston. Work includes new bridges, interchanges and an electronic toll-collection system. Work is set to take three years.

Shikun & Binui says it won a contract last year to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a toll road as part of a $550-million ring-road project around Bogota, Colombia.

The firm says that as of Sept. 30, its backlog had reached about $2.4 billion, of which 70% was from international operations.