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Port of Long Beach Selected to Apply for Transportation Infrastructure Loan to Replace Gerald Desmond Bridge

Project on Short List for Competitive Federal Credit Program

WASHINGTON – The Port of Long Beach (PLB) has been selected to apply for a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to replace the highly congested Gerald Desmond Bridge, which lacks capacity for current and projected traffic, including trucks that serve the port, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.

“President Obama called for ‘an America built to last,’ and the TIFIA program can help us achieve that,” said Secretary LaHood. “A little TIFIA goes a long way for communities that use these loans to leverage additional funding so they can tackle the big picture transportation projects this country needs.”

The Port of Long Beach project was one of five selected to submit a loan application, which the Department of Transportation will review.  The PLB plans to replace the bridge as part of a cooperative agreement with the California Department of Transportation.  If approved, the loan would go toward financing part of the estimated total project cost of $960.2 million.  The loan would also pay for the addition of a sixth travel lane and for leveling the approach grades onto the bridge.   

The existing bridge, located at the south end of Interstate 710, is the main link between the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.  The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles combine to form the largest port complex in the United States, accommodating 40 percent of the nation’s containerized cargo.

“TIFIA can help move projects forward, which will create jobs and strengthen the economy,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said. “Given current fiscal constraints, the program provides an invaluable opportunity for states and localities to leverage limited resources.”

The TIFIA program provides federal credit assistance to nationally or regionally significant surface transportation projects, including highway, transit and rail. The program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial private co-investment by providing projects with supplemental debt.

National demand for TIFIA infrastructure credit assistance has been overwhelming.  In response to the fiscal year 2012 Notice of Funding Availability, the U.S. Department of Transportation received 26 letters of interest exceeding $13 billion in total requests.  Since its inception, TIFIA has accelerated delivery of critical infrastructure investments by providing almost $9.1billion in credit assistance to 26 projects.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012