U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced at the Build America Infrastructure Investment Summit a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for $950 million to help pay for the reconstruction and widening of 21 miles of Interstate 4 in metropolitan Orlando, Fla. This is the largest loan the department has awarded to a public-private partnership (P3). When completed, the project will relieve congestion in one of the country’s most heavily traveled areas.
Known as the “I-4 Ultimate,” the project is part of the 54-year-old I-4 corridor, which runs 73 miles between Tampa and Daytona Beach and serves several of the region’s key north-south corridors, such as Florida’s Turnpike and I-95.
“We’ve been able to move this project from the financing drawing board to breaking ground in near record time because of the Department’s early involvement,” said Secretary Foxx. “The ‘I-4 Ultimate’ is the sort of highway improvement America’s drivers’ need, and it underscores the importance of passing the President’s Grow America Act to make more investments to modernize our aging roads to keep up with future demands.” The Grow America Act is a $302 billion, four-year multi-modal investment plan to address America’s aging transportation network.
This project benefited from the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) engagement with the department early in the P3 process and using a new, streamlined P3 process that includes a standard term sheet. The department established a new Build America Transportation Investment Center to help connect more project sponsors to departmental programs like TIFIA and encourage the use such process improvements.
“Without a loan like this, Orlando’s I-4 would have continued to age requiring even more costly fixes in the years ahead, creating additional traffic delays without any hope of congestion relief,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “The travel demands in this area of Florida continue to grow, which is why the ‘I-4 Ultimate’ is the right solution at the right time.”
The department engaged FDOT early in the project development process to provide certainty to potential private bidders that the department would be a significant partner in the I-4 Ultimate project. This is the first project under Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) to complete the new model specifically tailored for public-private partnerships to involve the TIFIA loan office with a public sponsor very early in the process.
This process has enabled the department to engage with I-4 Mobility Partners, the P3 partner selected by FDOT, after award of the concession and close the loan in four months.
The TIFIA loan will be used to replace six general purpose lanes on I-4 and add four new express lanes on a 21-mile section of I-4 that runs through Orlando, from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of SR 434 in Seminole County.
The TIFIA credit program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial non-federal investments. Each dollar of federal funding can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. This is the 13th TIFIA loan the department has closed this fiscal year, a one-year record for the program. To date, the department has financed $7.4 billion in FY 2014 to support transportation infrastructure across the country.