I-405 Highway Project Aims to Tap $627M TIFIA Loan

📅   Wed August 02, 2017 - National Edition
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The Orange County Transportation Authority expects to soon close on a $627 million federal infrastructure loan to help pay for a major expansion of Interstate 405.
(Caltrans photo)
The Orange County Transportation Authority expects to soon close on a $627 million federal infrastructure loan to help pay for a major expansion of Interstate 405. (Caltrans photo)

The Orange County Transportation Authority expects to soon close on a $627 million federal infrastructure loan, after its board voted 16-0 June 26 to sign final loan documents to help pay for a major capacity expansion project in a 16-mi. corridor of Interstate 405.

The county agency, in partnership with the California Department of Transportation, plans to build both general purpose and express toll lanes to improve traffic flow in the heavily congested section of the 405.

The Orange County Register reported that the project's total cost is expected to be about $1.9 billion, and it is the largest ever for the OCTA.

Authority executives expected to soon sign documents with the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act or TIFIA loan, the Register said.

That is a USDOT program that provides long-term, low-interest finance to qualifying projects with an identifiable repayment stream. The loan will be repaid with toll receipts drivers pay to use the coming 405 Express Lanes, the Register said.

The Register also said that over the 35-year life of the loan, its low cost is expected to save the OCTA about $300 million compared with bonds the authority would otherwise have had to issue in the bond market.

Caltrans has said the project would require replacing 18 bridges in the corridor, plus new and widened spans, and interchange reconfigurations. It expected that construction would start this year, with completion in 2023 under a design-build contract.

Other funding sources for the improvement project include $1.1 billion in funds 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, the Register said.