Project on Short List for Competitive Federal Credit Program
WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) has been selected to apply for a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to make improvements on State Route 91 that will boost the region’s economic competiveness.
“President Obama called for ‘an America built to last,’ and the TIFIA program can help us achieve that,” said Secretary LaHood. “A little TIFIA goes a long way for communities that use these loans to leverage additional funding so they can tackle the big picture transportation projects this country needs.”
Project One of Five Selected
The California project was one of five selected to submit a loan application, which the Department of Transportation will review. If approved, the loan would serve as a catalyst to attract additional state and local funding to cover the total project cost of $1.3 billion.
The California project will extend two SR-91 tolled Express Lanes and construct one general purpose lane on an eight-mile segment between Orange and Riverside counties. Currently, more than 280,000 vehicles per day use SR-91, and traffic volume is expected to increase by 50 percent by 2035. More traffic lanes are expected to reduce congestion as well as the accident rate in the corridor. The project is part of an overall transportation strategy for the region that will include a 22-mile southward extension of Metrolink and a 32-mile extension of the Santa Ana River Trail.
“TIFIA can help move projects forward, which will create jobs and strengthen the economy,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said. “Given current fiscal constraints, the program provides an invaluable opportunity for states and localities to leverage limited resources.”
About the Program
The TIFIA program provides federal credit assistance to nationally or regionally significant surface transportation projects, including highway, transit and rail. The program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial private co-investment by providing projects with supplemental debt.
National demand for TIFIA infrastructure credit assistance has been overwhelming. In response to the fiscal year 2012 Notice of Funding Availability, the U.S. Department of Transportation received 26 letters of interest exceeding $13 billion in total requests. Since its inception, TIFIA has accelerated delivery of critical infrastructure investments by providing almost $9.1billion in credit assistance to 26 projects.