U.S. Department of Transportation Announces up to $628.93 million in Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Credit Assistance for Orange County Transportation Authority’s I-405 Improvement Project
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced its Build America Bureau (the “Bureau”) has provided a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act TIFIA direct loan in the amount of up to $628.93 million to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for the I-405 Improvement Project (the Project). The Department provides TIFIA and other surface transportation infrastructure financing through the Bureau.
The loan proceeds will finance part of the construction costs of the Project, which is being built in a 16-mile corridor in northwest Orange County on I-405 between State Route 73 and Interstate 605. The Project will add one new General-Purpose lane and one new toll lane in each direction in the 16-mile corridor. The new tolled express lanes will combine with the existing high occupancy vehicle lane to create two Express Lanes in each direction.
The project aims to improve operations of one of the most congested freeways in the country and is expected to generate about 26,000 jobs. It will also create more reliable and timely access to job centers, schools and to essential services for residents of this region. Its design also incorporates climate resilience elements, especially against flooding and earthquake risks, as well as pedestrian and bike-friendly elements.
The TIFIA loan will replace the current loan that the Bureau provided to OCTA for the Project in July 2017. The new loan, at a lower interest rate, will generate approximately US $258 million in nominal financing costs savings for OCTA over the life of the loan, providing relief from COVID-19 which affected OCTA’s revenues, and helping OCTA continue to deliver its capital improvement plan.
Project construction is already underway. OCTA expects to open the Project to the public by October 2023.
The Bureau, which administers the TIFIA credit program, was established as a “one-stop-shop” to streamline credit opportunities while also providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation. The Bureau has the resources and full commitment to provide additional flexibility and financial assistance to transportation projects in regions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize the negative effects and help them with quicker recovery from this crisis. The U.S. Department of Transportation has closed $34.5 billion in TIFIA financings, supporting more than $120 billion in infrastructure investment across the country.