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Moving the American Economy - U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Contact: Nancy Singer
(202) 366-0660
FHWA 05-06

Reno Repays $50 Million Federal Loan That Jump-Started Rail Corridor Project, Relieved Downtown Congestion

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today that the City of Reno repaid a loan that jump-started construction of the rail trench that reduces downtown congestion by separating train and automobile traffic 35 years early.

The City paid $55 million with interest on the original $50.5 million loan made in 2002 to launch the Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor, or ReTRAC project, which held its grand opening the first of this year. The completed project eliminated 10 rail crossings along a 2.1-mile route by taking train traffic 33 feet below ground.

"Four years ago, we saw how the innovative use of tax dollars would keep Reno traffic moving, improve safety and the environment and speed freight deliveries from the West Coast," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. "This important project wouldn't have gotten off the ground without the resources this program provides."

The Reno corridor is a critical freight route from the Port of Oakland to inland destinations. The number of trains traveling through Reno is expected to increase from approximately 15 per day to as many as 34 per day and at speeds greater compared to when trains crossed at ground level.

The loan was provided through the Transportation Department's credit assistance program, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, that helps state and local governments deliver transportation projects using flexible and innovative financing approaches. The program allowed the City of Reno to pledge different revenue streams to repay the loan and refinance the project through regular financial markets.

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