Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA) was pleased that the Department of Transportation (DOT) selected the 91 Freeway Corridor Project for a $20 million grant in the third round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants (TIGER III). The $20 million will be utilized to leverage a loan from DOT's Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. The financing from TIFIA will satisfy a portion of 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 the five-year time-span of construction.
"I am pleased by the Department of Transportation's decision and look forward to working with the Riverside County Transportation Commission and DOT in the future to satisfy the remaining balance of the needed funding," 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 and a project of national significance."
The 91 freeway serves as the main connector between the Inland Empire, Orange County and Los Angeles and is also a major trade corridor 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 would yield roughly an extra three days worth of time per year commuters will not have to spend in their car 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 13% in the Inland Empire new jobs are vital to our area. In addition to the much-needed relief from improving the 91 freeway, we also welcome the job creation potential of the project," said Rep. Calvert.