AASHTO Journal, 27 March 2015
A 25-mile toll road in Orlando, Fla., that is being jointly built by the Florida Department of Transportation and Central Florida Expressway Authority was awarded a long-term, low-interest loan of $194 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIFIA program.
The nearly $2 billion Wekiva Parkway project is divided into 14 sections, and is a joint effort between FDOT and the Expressway Authority, the USDOT said, with each agency owning, operating, maintaining and tolling its respective sections.
When it is done, the full project will effectively complete a beltway around northwest metropolitan Orlando, the announcement said, reduce congestion on other highways and improve travel between fast-growing Seminole, Lake and Orange counties.
The authority, known as CFX, will receive the TIFIA loan to support building five sections primarily in Orange County, including nearly 10 miles of tolled expressways, at an estimated cost of $631 million. CFX will fund the rest of the project through bonds and cash contributions, with completion expected in 2018.
FDOT is responsible for nine sections in Lake and Seminole counties, including 17 miles of tolled expressway and various improvements on non-tolled roads in the area. That includes rebuilding one interchange so wildlife can travel safely and building a multi-use trail along portions of the parkway.
“Increasing congestion is one of the challenges our nation will continue to face in the upcoming decades,” said USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Wekiva Parkway is the sort of highway improvement necessary to support the economy of central Florida as travel demands continue to climb.”
Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said the loan “will help leverage capital and push forward a project that will boost area businesses and improve connectivity.”