AASHTO Journal, 27 September 2013
A $1.6 billion expressway project in Tarrant County, Texas, received a financial boost last week after the Federal Highway Administration announced that it was the newest recipient of a Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan.
FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez announced last Wednesday, Sept. 18, that the Interstate Highway 35W corridor project has received a $531 million TIFIA loan to assist in relieving one of the state’s most congested corridors and increasing safety by adding two new managed lanes in each direction, reconstructing 12 miles of freeway, and reconstructing the I-820/I-35W interchange. The route is a major one for both commuters and freight, providing access to the Fort Worth business district while also serving Dallas/Fort Worth distribution centers for U.S.-Mexico trade.
“This project demonstrates the importance of investing in our transportation infrastructure to create jobs and continue to boost economic growth in this fast-growing region of the state,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez in a statement. “The department’s loan program fills financial gaps and moves key transportation projects forward, which provides significant results for taxpayers.”
The highway has been in operation since the 1960s, though traffic has grown substantially since then, now amounting to about 100,000 vehicles each day.
TIFIA provides federal assistance through direct loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit to pay for transportation projects of national and regional significance. That TIFIA credit help gives agencies better access to capital markets, more flexible repayment terms, and sometimes better interest rates available in private capital markets. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, each dollar of federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance, as well as leverage $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. TIFIA often helps to advance projects that had previously been deferred because of their size, complexity, or funding uncertainty.