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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces up to $41.55 Million Loan for Significant Rural Road Safety Project in Oklahoma

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that its Build America Bureau has provided a low-interest, long-term loan of $41.55 million to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to finance 49 percent of the $85.97 million in eligible costs for the Rural Two-Lane Advancement And Management Plan (RAAMP). The Bureau helps communities across the country reduce the costs of infrastructure projects by providing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans, known as TIFIA loans, and other types of financing. Under the Rural Projects Initiative (RPI), the loan is for nearly half the project costs instead of the customary 33 percent.  

The project will provide significant safety improvements, one of the primary objectives of RAAMP. The project is a compilation of eight rural projects that will add nearly 27 miles of 
8-foot shoulders and asphalt resurfacing as well as 6.4 miles of roadway reconstruction. The projects are located in Harper, Kingfisher, Pontotoc, Caddo, Pittsburg, McClain, Bryan, and Ellis counties in Oklahoma.

“Over the last five years, 38 percent of all serious and fatal crashes in Oklahoma have occurred on rural roads with no shoulders,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg. “US DOT is proud to support the RAAMP program to help address safety issues and save lives in Oklahoma.” 

In January, amid recent troubling increases in deaths on America’s roads, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched a comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy. To help reverse these trends and save lives, the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes historic levels of funding to address safety, especially in rural areas, where a disproportionate number of traffic injuries and fatalities occur.

“The Bureau’s Rural Project Initiative provides flexibility to deliver much-needed improvements sooner with very favorable financing terms,” said Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “This is our fifth RPI loan closed at half the Treasury rate, which saves project sponsors money and avoids escalating costs that make the projects more and more unattainable.”   
The Bureau was established as a “one-stop-shop” during the Obama Administration to help states and other project sponsors carry out infrastructure projects. The Bureau offers low-interest, long-term credit programs, technical assistance, and best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden in November 2021, expands project eligibility for the Bureau’s TIFIA credit program and extends maturity of the loans, giving borrowers additional flexibility.  

The TIFIA RPI helps improve transportation infrastructure in America’s rural communities. Under this initiative, a surface transportation project between $10 million and $100 million in an area with a population less than 150,000 can be eligible for financing with significant savings over traditional TIFIA loans and other commercial financing products, including:

  • Loans for up to 49 percent of the project’s eligible costs (compared to 33 percent under traditional TIFIA). 
  • Fixed interest rates equal to one half of the U.S. Treasury rate of equivalent maturity of the loan at the time of closing (traditional TIFIA loans have interest rates equal to the U.S. Treasury rate at the time of closing).

To date, the DOT has closed more than $38.3 billion in TIFIA financings, supporting more than $131.7 billion in infrastructure investment across the country.