USDOT to provide TIFIA funding for California Express Lanes conversion project

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The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) will provide a US$152.2m loan to the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) to help fund a major tolled Express Lanes project in California.

The US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, has announced that the USDOT’s Build America Bureau will provide a US$152.2m Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to the RCTC – at 2.84% with a term of 35 years after substantial completion – for the I-15 Express Lanes Corridor Project.

The scheme will be built along a 14.6 mile-long (23.5km) corridor of Interstate 15 in Riverside County, one of the most populous regions in the USA. The route runs from the Cajalco Road interchange near the city of Corona, to just south of the State Route 60 interchange near the San Bernardino/Riverside county line, and forms a major north-south truck/passenger route that links inland Southern California to Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as to Las Vegas.

Once complete, the I-15 will have new managed tolled Express Lanes going both north and south, new retaining walls, storm water runoff treatment services, 11 bridge widenings, tie-ins to the existing travel lanes, an electronic toll collection system (ETC), a customer service center, and a new traffic management system (TMC). The RCTC estimates that the project will not only address current and future congestion issues, but also improves efficiency and reliability of goods movement from the country’s largest port complex, provides more transportation options, and will create more than 3,300 jobs during construction and 525 permanent jobs after completion.

The RCTC was seeking TIFIA funding to ensure accelerated delivery of the project through use of the design-build model. Without the loan, the agency believes it is likely that the scheme would be delayed for at least two to three years, if not longer, until additional funding could be identified. The Build America 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.

Marty Klepper, executive director of the Bureau, noted, “By leveraging a loan from us, more projects like the I-15 Express Lanes Project can become viable. We have an open-door policy for any transportation project sponsor to meet with our team to discuss loan programs that could move projects forward.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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