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Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor

Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor
Project Type: 
Railroads
Sponsor / Borrower: 
City of Reno, Nevada
Union Pacific Railroad
Credit Agreement Status: 
Retired/Sold
TIFIA Assistance: 
$51 million
Primary Revenue Pledge: 
Room Tax Revenues
Project Cost Details: 

$279.9 million

Duration / Status: 

Construction began in October 2002 and was completed spring 2006.

Fiscal Year Closed: 
FY2001
Project Description: 

Reno is situated on a major rail corridor linking west coast ports, especially the Port of Oakland, to inland destinations. Prior to the Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor (ReTRAC) project, dual mainline, at-grade rail tracks passed directly through the City's downtown, creating a number of concerns. By depressing a 2.25-mile downtown stretch of the rail corridor into a 1.75-mile-long, 54-foot-wide by 33-foot-deep trench, the ReTRAC project resolved numerous environmental, public health, and safety issues. An adjacent access road, relocation of the City's Amtrak station, and utility relocation was also included in the project.

The ReTRAC project eliminated 10 at-grade street crossings by replacing them with bridges and constructing one new bridge over the trench, minimizing emergency vehicle delay, vehicular delay, impacts from pedestrian conflicts, whistle warning noise, and air quality conflicts. The project also increased property tax revenues by raising residential, commercial, and industrial property values along the corridor. New, developable real estate amounted to 120 acres.

The project allows Union Pacific to improve freight capacity by increasing train lengths to 8,000 feet with double-stacked containers. Greater train frequency is also possible facilitating Nevada's warehousing industry.

Funding Sources: 
  • City of Reno Bond Issues: $111.5M (backed by hotel room and sales tax)
  • TIFIA Loan: $50.5M (backed by hotel room and sales tax)
  • Union Pacific Railroad: $17M
  • Federal Grants: $21.3M
  • Cash, Interest Earnings, and Other Income: $79.6M
Project Delivery / Contract Method: 

Design-Build

Project Participants: 
None
Project Advisors / Consultants: 

Granite Construction Company - Design-build

Parsons Transportation Group - Design-build

Jacobs Engineering Group - Project management

MADCON Consultation Services - Environmental

To USDOT TIFIA JPO:

  • TIFIA Legal Advisor: Hawkins, Delafield & Wood, LLP
  • TIFIA Financial Advisor: A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.
Project Lender(s): 
Bondholders, USDOT TIFIA
TIFIA Credit Assistance Detail: 

The original TIFIA commitment amounted to $73.5 million, comprised of three separate obligations: $50.5 million, secured by County sales and City hotel room taxes; $5 million, secured by lease income from property contributed by Union Pacific; and $18.5 million, secured by tax assessments on real property in a downtown business district. The City of Reno elected not to proceed with either of the two smaller loans.

Financial Status: 
The sales and room tax loan closed in 2002 and was funded in 2004. Negotiations concluded in 2005 on the assessment district loan, although litigation prevented its closing. The City elected not to proceed with either of the two smaller loans. The City repaid the original $50.5 million loan with interest in May 2006.
Innovations: 
  • Temporary 2-mile shoofly track rerouted rail traffic during construction
  • Estimated 18 months schedule savings through use of design-build versus design-bid-build
  • Wide-ranging benefits to freight operator, motorists, pedestrians, property owners, and the City of Reno
Project Contacts: 

John Flansberg, P.E. 
Director of Public Works 
P.O. Box 1900 
Reno, NV 89505 
Tel: (775) 334-2350

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