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Project Profile: Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor (ReTRAC)

Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor (ReTRAC)

photo credit: Schnabel Foundation Company


Reno, Nevada

Project Sponsor / Borrower

City of Reno

Union Pacific Railroad

Program Areas

Alternative Project DeliveryProject FinanceValue CaptureTIFIA

Value Capture Techniques

Private Contribution

Sales Tax Districts


Freight Rail


Reno is situated on a major rail corridor linking west coast ports, especially the Port of Oakland, to inland destinations. Prior to the Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor (ReTRAC) project, dual mainline, at-grade rail tracks passed directly through the City's downtown, creating a number of concerns. By depressing a 2.25-mile downtown stretch of the rail corridor into a 1.75-mile-long, 54-foot-wide by 33-foot-deep trench, the ReTRAC project resolved numerous environmental, public health, and safety issues. An adjacent access road, relocation of the City's Amtrak station, and utility relocation was also included in the project.

The ReTRAC project eliminated 10 at-grade street crossings by replacing them with bridges and constructing one new bridge over the trench, minimizing emergency vehicle delay, vehicular delay, impacts from pedestrian conflicts, whistle warning noise, and air quality conflicts. The project also increased property tax revenues by raising residential, commercial, and industrial property values along the corridor. New, developable real estate amounted to 120 acres.

The project allows Union Pacific to improve freight capacity by increasing train lengths to 8,000 feet with double-stacked containers. Greater train frequency is also possible facilitating Nevada's warehousing industry.


$279.9 million

Funding Sources

City of Reno bond issues - $111.5 million (backed by hotel room and sales taxes)

TIFIA loan - $50.5 million (backed by hotel room and sales taxes)

Union Pacific Railroad - $17 million

Federal grants - $21.3 million

Cash, interest earnings, and other income - $79.6 million

Project Delivery / Contract Method


Private Partner


Project Advisors / Consultants

Granite Construction Company - Design-build

Parsons Transportation Group - Design-build

Jacobs Engineering Group - Project management

MADCON Consultation Services - Environmental


  • TIFIA Legal Advisor - Hawkins, Delafield & Wood, LLP
  • TIFIA Financial Advisor - A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.

Bondholders, USDOT TIFIA

Duration / Status

Construction began in October 2002 and was completed spring 2006.

TIFIA Credit Assistance

The original TIFIA commitment amounted to $73.5 million, comprised of three separate obligations: $50.5 million, secured by County sales and City hotel room taxes; $5 million, secured by lease income from property contributed by Union Pacific; and $18.5 million, secured by tax assessments on real property in a downtown business district. The City of Reno elected not to proceed with either of the two smaller loans.

Financial Status / Financial Performance

The sales and room tax loan closed in 2002 and was funded in 2004. Negotiations concluded in 2005 on the assessment district loan, although litigation prevented its closing. The City elected not to proceed with either of the two smaller loans.

The City repaid the original $50.5 million loan with interest in May 2006.

  • Temporary 2-mile shoofly track rerouted rail traffic during construction
  • Estimated 18 months schedule savings through use of design-build versus design-bid-build
  • Wide-ranging benefits to freight operator, motorists, pedestrians, property owners, and the City of Reno
Related Links / Articles



John Flansberg, P.E.
Director of Public Works
P.O. Box 1900
Reno, NV 89505
Tel: (775) 334-2350

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