The U.S. Department of Transportation said its Build America Bureau will provide a $152.2 million long-term, low-interest TIFIA loan to the Riverside (Calif.) County Transportation Commission for a project to add express toll lanes in the median of the Interstate 15 corridor.
The credit under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program costs 2.84 percent, with a term of 35 years after substantial completion for the I-15 Express Lanes Corridor Project.
“This major award means project financing is complete and construction can begin on the I-15 Express Lanes,” the commission said, adding that it expects the new lanes to open to traffic in mid-2020.
In addition to the TIFIA loan, the commission said local and federal funds will be used to pay for part of the initial construction, including Riverside County’s voter-approved transportation sales tax program. The overall cost of the project is about $455 million, it said.
The project in a 14.6-mile corridor of I-15 is intended to improve mobility in the fourth-most-populous county in California, the USDOT said, and 11th-most-populous in the United States.
It will build two express lanes in each direction between the Cajalco Road interchange near the city of Corona to just south of the State Route 60 interchange near the San Bernardino/Riverside county line.
The USDOT announcement said the I-15 corridor is a major north-south trucking and passenger traffic route that links inland Southern California to Los Angeles and Orange counties as well as to Las Vegas.
Once complete, the USDOT said, the project will provide managed lanes going both north and south plus new retaining walls, storm water runoff treatment services, 11 bridge widenings, tie-ins to existing travel lanes, an electronic toll collection system, a customer service center and a traffic management system.
The county commission estimates the project will not only address current and future congestion issues, but will improve efficiency and reliability of goods movement from the nation’s largest port complex – the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
It will also create more than 3,300 jobs during construction and 525 permanent jobs after completion, the USDOT said.
Marty Klepper, executive director of the Build America Bureau, said: “By leveraging a loan from the bureau, more projects like the I-15 Express Lanes Project can become viable.”