$90 million toll bridge for sale

A newly built private toll road is up for auction in Texas, with a $90 million price tag. The 22-mile Camino Colombia road opened in 2000 as an alternative to clogged public roads, but revenue from toll fees was lower than expected.

The highway runs from south of Loredo, Texas, to the Colombia Solidarity Bridge, which connects Interstate 35 with Mexico. Originally, it was thought that the bridge would relieve traffic congestion and speed the transportation of goods between the U.S. and Mexico when the North American Free Trade Agreement was created. However, with a fee of $3 per car and $16 per 18-wheeler, many drivers preferred to take the less expensive, public route.

Texas Department of Transportation officials say the DOT may purchase the toll road, but no plans have been announced.

Construction of the toll road was approved by then-Gov. George W. Bush and financed partly by local landowners, who invested $15 million in the project. New York Life Insurance and John Hancock Life Insurance put $75 million into the toll road. Some of the landowners who financed the project, including many ranchers, claim the road was a scam and want their money back.

The bridge will sell at a Jan. 6 auction.