U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a $531 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for Interstate Highway 35W in Tarrant County, Texas, that will relieve one of state's most congested corridors and improve safety by upgrading the expressway and adding two new lanes in each direction.
"Safety is our number one priority and by adding more lanes and rebuilding an interchange, drivers will get to where they're going more efficiently and safely through this historically congested area," said Secretary Foxx. "The Obama Administration is committed to transportation investments like this that will help connect people to jobs and grow our economy."
IH-35W is a critical commuter and international trade corridor, providing direct access for Denton County residents to jobs in the Fort Worth business district and connecting Tarrant County residents to employment centers in the northern part of the county. In addition, IH-35W is a key route for U.S.-Mexico trade, serving Dallas/Fort Worth distribution centers.
"This project demonstrates the importance of investing in our transportation infrastructure to create jobs and continue to boost economic growth in this fast-growing region of the state," 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."
The project will reconstruct more than 12 miles of freeway and add managed lanes, which give drivers the option of paying a toll to use them, on the most congested segments of IH-35W in Tarrant County. Buses will use the new lanes free of charge. The project will also reconstruct the IH 820/IH 35W interchange.
The reconstruction will bring the existing general purpose lanes and interchange up to current design standards to address safety issues with the highway, improving the distance from exit ramps to cross-street intersections, shoulder width, bridge clearances and merging distances at the interchange.
Since the highway opened in the 1960s, Tarrant County has grown exponentially, with 100,000 vehicles that travel on that segment of IH-35W each day.
The $531 million TIFIA loan will go toward the $1.6 billion total cost of the project. The private concessionaire, NTE Mobility Partners, will receive the loan for the work under agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation.
The TIFIA credit program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial non-federal investments. 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. The transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), transformed TIFIA into one of the largest transportation infrastructure loan programs in history, making up to $17 billion available in credit assistance for critical infrastructure projects.