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Project Profile: Americas Interchange Project

Americas Interchange Project

Source: Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority

Location

El Paso, Texas

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Texas Department of Transportation

Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority

Program Areas

Project FinanceValue Capture

Value Capture Techniques Transportation Reinvestment Zone
Mode

Highway

Description

The Americas Interchange is a four-level, fully directional interchange between I-10 and Loop 375 15 miles east of downtown El Paso, Texas. The project was constructed in three phases. A precursor project included the extension of the Loop 375 main lanes from North Loop Road across I-10 to Bob Hope Drive This project opened in 2005 and included the completion of the existing bridge over I-10 along with the interchange's aesthetic improvements that serve as a gateway to El Paso.

Phase I, completed in 2013, consisted of the construction of 3 direct connectors between Loop 375 and I-10:

  • Southbound Loop 375 to westbound I-10
  • Northbound Loop 375 to westbound I-10
  • Eastbound I-10 to Northbound Loop 375

Funding for Phase I included a form of tax increment financing called a Transportation Reinvestment Zone (TRZ). El Paso was the first major city in Texas to implement TRZs, first created by the State Legislature in 2007. TRZs function similarly to Tax Increment Financing (TIF) instruments, but can support a broader range of transportation projects.

The City's first TRZ was rescinded due to the quality of the zone's estimated revenue data and contiguity issues. Two TRZs that followed and approved in 2010 included new boundaries and recalibrated revenue estimates. These TRZs now serve as key funding mechanisms for implementation of El Paso's 2008 Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP), which included the Americas Interchange Phase I's direct connectors. One hundred percent of the annual property tax increment in the TRZ is required to be set aside for identified projects.

The TRZs will ultimately generate an anticipated $70 million to implement CMP projects. Since 2008, TRZ revenue has financed portions of several projects including $30 million for the interchange. This revenue is pledged to the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority, who in turn will repay a Texas Department of Transportation's State Infrastructure Bank loan. The City of El Paso backs this repayment source, as required by state regulation.

Phase II constructed 3 additional direct connectors:

  • Westbound I-10 to northbound Loop 375
  • Westbound I-10 to southbound Loop 375
  • Eastbound I-10 to southbound Loop 375

Phase III constructed the remaining 2 direct connectors:

  • Southbound Loop 375 to eastbound I-10
  • Northbound Loop 375 to eastbound I-10
Cost

$223 million

  • Phase I - $141 million
  • Phase II - $42 million
  • Phase III - $30 million
Funding Sources

Phase I

  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds - $96 million
  • Coordinated Border Infrastructure (CBI) funds - $15 million
  • State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) loan as a Build America Bond (BAB) to be repaid with TRZ No. 2 revenue stream - $30 million
Project Delivery / Contract Method

Phase I - Design-build

Phase II - Design-bid-build

Phase III - Design-bid-build

Partner

Phase I Design-Builder - Americas Gateway Builders (joint venture of Zachry Construction and CH2M Hill)

Project Advisors / Consultants

Phase II Construction - J.D. Abrams

Phase III Construction - Haydon Building Corp

TRZ Planning and Development - Texas Transportation Institute, TXP, Inc.

Lenders

State Infrastructure Bank

Duration / Status

Precursor project opened 2005

Phase I opened January 2013

Phase II opened April 2015

Phase III opened December 2016

Financial Status/Financial Performance

Early on the TRZs initially had to pull from the City of El Paso's General Fund to meet their obligations. However, by 2013, these zones began generating more than double the public backing. Revenue collection meets or exceeds initial forecasts from the Texas Transportation Institute and TXP estimates. TRZ revenue generation is on schedule to repay the SIB loan and other project obligations.

Innovations

El Paso's TRZs are the first use of this financing mechanism in Texas. This tool is similar to Texas Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones, but unlike those, TRZs do not require the local entity to create a board, reducing administrative burden. Additionally, TRZ revenue can support a broader range of transportation projects.

Related Links / Articles

Camino Real Regional Mobility Americas Interchange Project

Transportation Reinvestment Zones: Texas Legislative History and Implementation

TxDOT Transportation Reinvestment Zones

Contacts

Robert Bielek, DPA, P.E.
El Paso District Engineer, TxDOT
Tel: (915) 790-4203

TxDOT Project Finance, Debt and Strategic Contracts Division
Tel: (713) 802-5114

Elizabeth Triggs
Assistant Director, Economic and International Development, City of El Paso
Tel: (915) 212-1619
TriggsEK@elpasotexas.gov

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