CHICAGO, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A Spanish-Australian group has agreed to pay $1.83 billion or almost $3,700 an inch for the Chicago Skyway.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Cintra-Macquarie bid for the skyway was $1.1 billion higher than the runner-up. A third bidder was willing to put up only $505 million for the right to operate the skyway and collect its tolls for the next 99 years.
Budget Director John Harris told the newspaper that the other bids were too low for serious consideration. Harris said he believes that Cintra-Macquarie can make money off the deal, especially given the long term of the lease.
Tolls on the skyway have risen to $2.50 with the deal and are scheduled to go to $3 in 2008, with more hikes to come. Cintra-Macquarie can charge a premium for those who use the skyway during peak periods, but only if they give discounts to truckers in the early morning hours.