The Texas Department of Transportation has received a $285 million federal loan to help finance the reconstruction and expansion of one of the most congested highways in the state.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the award of a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to finance a section of I-35E known as the 35Express project from Denton to Dallas. The 35Express Project, being constructed in two phases, includes reconstruction and expansion of the 28-mi. (45 km) section of I-35E between I-635 in Dallas to U.S. 380 in Denton that serves the rapidly growing areas of southern and central Denton County as well as the major Dallas suburbs immediately north of I-635.
This major artery that traverses nine cities and two counties also is a primary commuter link to the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University in Denton.
“Receiving this TIFIA loan from the federal government is great news for the region and the state,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III.
“The construction cost index — a measure of inflation — is typically much higher than the interest rate on these type of loans, so again Texas is demonstrating that TIFIA is a great tool to deliver necessary road projects now that would cost a great deal more to deliver in the future.”
Phase 1 is a $1.4 billion project and is expected to be complete in late 2017.
Phase 2 of the project will extend the length of Phase 1 and is projected to cost
$3.4 billion. Phase 2 is planned to begin in approximately 5 to 10 years when funds become available. Prior to approval of the TIFIA loan, Denton County, the North Central Texas Council of Governments and TxDOT authorized $285 million financial security in the form of regional toll revenue funds to keep the project moving. Those local funds will now be available for other Denton County transportation needs.
“The loan from the federal government is a real shot in the arm for several individual projects that are part of the major construction along I-35 through Denton County,” said Victor Vandergriff, Texas transportation commissioner.
“Securing these additional resources means quicker completion to building and improving general purpose lanes, interchanges, frontage roads and bridges that will help keep traffic moving in this ever-growing part of North Texas.”
“We are extremely pleased about the TIFIA loan approval. We were confident that the loan would be approved for this critical project for Denton County,” said Denton County Judge Mary Horn.
Denton County also contributed an additional $534 million in regional/county funds that went directly to project construction.
“This project, which is the gateway to Denton County, will dramatically enhance the economic growth of not only Denton County, but the entire north Texas region.”