Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA) was pleased that the Department of Transportation (DOT) selected the 91 Freeway Corridor Project for a multi-million dollar loan from the Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. The TIFIA financing will satisfy the needed financing for a $1.3 billion freeway widening on the 91 Freeway between the I-15 and the Orange County Line.
Rep. Calvert strongly advocated for the 91 Freeway Corridor Project via meetings, phone calls, multiple letters of support for the project, an op-ed, etc. Rep. Calvert worked with state and local officials, the Orange County and Inland Empire congressional delegations, particularly the Dean of the delegation Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), and with U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to support this project. The 91 Freeway Corridor Project will create as many as 16,000 jobs during its expected five-year time of construction. Last December, the project received a $20 million grant in the third round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants (TIGER III). This grant will be used secure a much larger loan guarantee for the project.
"I am pleased by the Department of Transportation's decision and look forward to working with the Riverside County Transportation Commission to complete the 91 Freeway Corridor Project," said Rep. Calvert. "The 91 freeway is a bottleneck that hinders goods movement to the rest of the country and it is a local commuter nightmare. Widening the 91 freeway is a priority for the region and a project of national significance."
Congressman Jerry Lewis, who worked closely with Congressman Calvert on securing the funding, added "The SR 91 freeway is a vital link in our regional transportation grid, and improving this important highway will benefit commuters from the High Desert to the beach. I commend Secretary LaHood and the Department of Transportation for recognizing the returns we will see from this federal funding."
"We are grateful to the Department of Transportation for this funding decision and excited about the task that is ahead of us in building this project that has so much support," said RCTC Executive Director Anne Mayer. "The advocacy of Congressional Representatives Ken Calvert, Jerry Lewis and Mary Bono Mack as well as the support of the business community in Corona and Riverside has been overwhelming."
The 91 freeway serves as the main connector between the Inland Empire, Orange County and Los Angeles and is also a major trade corridor used to transport goods into the interior of the U.S. from the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach. A study conducted by the Riverside County Transportation Commission showed that completion of the project will yield roughly an extra three days worth of time per year for commuters -- time they would have otherwise spent in their cars stuck in traffic.
The Transportation Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act (TIFIA) was created by Congress to provide "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 or subordinate debt" (U.S Department of Transportation, www.dot.gov).
"With unemployment over 12% in the Inland Empire, new jobs are vital to our area. In addition to the much-needed congestion relief that will be provided by improving the 91 freeway, we also welcome the jobs that will be created by this project," said Rep. Calvert.