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

FHWA 07-09Contact: Nancy Singer
Wednesday, March 4, 2009Tel.: (202) 366-0660

USDOT Approves $603 Million Loan to Build New Express Lanes In Florida
Sunshine State Lands Nation's First TIFIA Loan of 2009

WASHINGTON - Florida's plans for congestion relief in Broward County just received help from the U.S. Department of Transportation through its approval of a $603 million loan to build new express lanes on I-595, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today. Construction is now expected to begin this summer.

"The new express lanes will bring congestion relief and give drivers more choices for a better commute on this important highway in south Florida," said Secretary LaHood. "This project is part of the Obama Administration's commitment to reviving the economy and putting Americans back to work."

The loan will help build three reversible "high-occupancy toll" (HOT) lanes in the median along 10.5 miles of I-595 running east-west and linking two key interchanges on I-75 and I-95. Because the tolls will vary according to traffic volume throughout the day, drivers using the new lanes will enjoy less traffic congestion.

The lanes will be built as part of a public-private partnership between the Florida Department of Transportation and ACS Infrastructure Development that will make the improvements possible 15 years sooner than under conventional means. The agreement calls for ACS to finance, build, operate and maintain the project for a 35-year term. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will set and collect the tolls on the facility and make payments to ACS annually based on its successful operation of the road.

Secretary LaHood said the loan, made possible by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), helped to leverage well over $750 million in private bank debt and over $200 million in private equity for the project's projected cost of $1.8 billion. The loan provides low-cost, fixed-rate financing with flexible repayment terms to the private partner and reduces costs to FDOT.

"This is just the latest example of this Administration's commitment to getting Americans back to work," Secretary LaHood added.

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