TIFIA loan will keep drivers moving in Texas
New lanes, safety improvements coming to I-35W in Tarrant County
During his public swearing-in, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, "We're living in an era in which we have to work harder than we ever have to stretch our transportation dollars even further. The American people are counting on us to be good stewards of their tax dollars—while still maintaining and building the infrastructure they need."
Last week, DOT took another step forward in that mission when the Federal Highway Administration announced a TIFIA loan for I-35W in Tarrant County, Texas. The North Tarrant Express project will relieve one of the Lone Star State’s most congested corridors and improve safety by upgrading the expressway and adding two new lanes in each direction.
Our TIFIA program --Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act-- allows projects to leverage DOT credit assistance into substantial investment funds. Each dollar of federal funding can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. Since its launch, the TIFIA program has helped 35 projects turn almost $12 billion in DOT assistance into more than $46 billion in infrastructure investment across America.
As Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said. “The Department’s loan program fills financial gaps and moves key transportation projects forward, which provides significant results for taxpayers.”
When he signed the current transportation law, MAP-21, President Obama transformed an already effective TIFIA program into one of the largest transportation infrastructure loan programs in history, making up to $17 billion available in credit assistance for critical infrastructure projects.
And we've wasted no time putting those funds to work delivering benefits to the commercial drivers and commuters who need them.
With last week's loan, the North Tarrant Express project will reconstruct more than 12 miles of freeway and add managed lanes that give drivers the option of paying a toll to use them. Buses will be able to travel the new lanes free of charge.
The work will also bring the existing lanes and the critical I-820 interchange up to current design standards to address safety issues on one of the most congested segments of the Fort Worth area's I-35W. Lengthening the distance from exit ramps to cross-street intersections; expanding shoulder width; raising bridge clearances; and extending merging distances will significantly improve safety on a segment of highway that carries 100,000 vehicles daily.
Since the highway opened in the 1960s, Tarrant County has grown exponentially, and today Denton County to the north is one of our nation's fastest growing counties. Area residents trying to make their way to employment centers need the congestion relief and the greater safety the project will provide.
Stretching our transportation dollars with TIFIA is only one part of the innovative financing on the I-35W project. North Tarrant Express is a public-private partnership that allows several companies and the Texas Department of Transportation to combine resources to help the region's 6 million people get where their going more effectively.
That's good for parents trying to get home to their kids. It's also good for the commercial drivers making their way to the distribution centers of the Dallas / Fort Worth metropolitan area and points farther south in the U.S. - Mexico trade corridor.
As Secretary Foxx said, "The Obama Administration is committed to transportation investments like this that will help connect people to jobs and grow our economy."
Thanks to DOT's TIFIA program, this is one project that will do exactly that.