AASHTO Journal

USDOT Finalizes Nearly $629M TIFIA Loan for Orange County (Calif.) I-405 Project

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Build America Bureau said it will provide up to a $628.93 million TIFIA loan to the Orange County (Calif.) Transportation Authority to cover about a third of the estimated cost to expand both general highway capacity and add 16 miles of express toll lanes along Interstate 405.

The bureau said the loan is at a 2.91 interest rate with a term of 35 years after substantial completion for the I-405 Improvement Project.

capitol0816.jpgAs previously reported, the OCTA board voted June 26 to sign final documents for a low-interest loan of about that size under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, for the authority's largest construction project.

The I-405 is a major and heavily traveled highway in Southern California, a major link between Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties and part of the Federal Highway Administration's "Primary Freight Network." It offers direct access to the nearby ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which comprise the nation's largest port complex by volume.

The project the TIFIA loan will help finance will add one new general purpose traffic lane and one new toll lane in each direction.

The USDOT announcement said the new tolled express lanes will combine with existing high occupancy vehicle lanes to create two express lanes in each direction in the I-405 median from SR 73 to I-605. 

The work will replace 18 bridges and includes construction of new and widened bridges, improvements to the auxiliary lanes, utility relocations, new sound walls and additions to traffic management systems.

Backers estimate that in its opening year of 2023 the project will reduce annual vehicle hours of delay along the corridor by two million hours, the USDOT said.

The county authority has said the low cost of the TIFIA loan will save it about $300 million over the loan's life, compared with financing that debt in the regular bond market.

Other project funding, the Orange County Register has reported, includes $1.1 billion from "Measure M," a half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, plus $89.7 million in state funds and $45.6 million in federal funds.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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