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U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces $500 Million Loan for Port of Long Beach

Monday, May 4, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau will provide a loan of $500 million under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to the City of Long Beach, California, acting through its Board of Harbor Commissioners (the Port of Long Beach).

“This $500 million federal investment reflects the President’s continued emphasis on infrastructure that will reduce traffic congestion while enhancing the Port of Long Beach’s ability to handle large container ships to support economic growth in the region and the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The loan will help finance construction of the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project, which is located at the Port of Long Beach at the southern end of State Route 710 in Los Angeles County.  It is the primary link between the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the two largest container ports in the United States, and the warehouses and rail yards north of the ports.  It is also the primary connection between the communities of San Pedro and Long Beach, and connects residents to major employment centers.

The purpose of the project is to replace an outdated structure constructed in 1968 with a state of the art cable-stayed bridge.  The new bridge will: 1) accommodate increased vehicular traffic; 2) provide emergency lanes in both directions; 3) improve safety; and 4) reduce delays.   Its 205-foot vertical clearance will accommodate larger cargo vessels. 

Substantial Completion of the project is expected to occur in July of 2020, after which the existing structure will be demolished. The loan will replace a $325 million TIFIA loan which closed in 2014, but remains undrawn.  The principal amount has been increased to assist the Port with additional costs arising from the implementation of more robust design and lifecycle features. 

The Port of Long Beach is a landlord port that derives its revenues largely through long-term property and rental agreements conveying a right to use, rent, or lease port assets.  The TIFIA loan will be repaid through revenues generated by the Port’s operations.  

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 monitoring.  During Secretary Chao’s tenure at DOT, the Department has closed nearly $7.7 billion in TIFIA financings, supporting over $27.2 billion in infrastructure projects across the country.