U.S. Transportation Secretary announces $162M loan for Ohio Rive - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U.S. Transportation Secretary announces $162M loan for Ohio River Bridges East End Crossing

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WASHINGTON (WDRB) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for $162 million from the Department's Federal Highway Administration to finance the East End Crossing section of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project.

That's according to a news release from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.

"This project will relieve congestion and stimulate the economy of the entire Louisville-Southern Indiana region both today and for years to come," Secretary Foxx said. "Projects like this reinforce the need for the Administration's GROW AMERICA Act, a $478 billion bill that provides funding over six years, so states and communities will have stable funding long enough to make big infrastructure projects a reality."

The GROW AMERICA Act – the long-term transportation bill the Department sent to Congress – provides funding growth and certainty so that state and local governments can continue to improve our infrastructure. It invests $317 billion over six years for federal highway programs, which represents nearly $12 billion more per year than under current law. The GROW AMERICA Act would also expand financing options under the TIFIA program.

At a total cost of $1.27 billion, the East End Crossing includes the East End Bridge and its connecting roadways. The bridge spans the Ohio River eight miles to the north connecting the east end of Louisville, near Prospect, to southern Indiana, near Utica. The project is successfully being delivered as a public private partnership (PPP), and benefited from a U.S. Department of Transportation private activity bond allocation in 2013. As part of the Administration's Build America Investment Initiative, USDOT is working to expand opportunities for partnership between the public and private sectors, including through the establishment of a new Build America Transportation Investment Center as a one-stop shop to support potential PPP projects.

"The project will connect communities and businesses on both sides of the river and provide convenient access for area residents," Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. "It also helps relieve congestion by allowing Louisville-area travelers to bypass downtown traffic."

The East End Crossing is part of the larger Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges bi-state project designed to provide two new bridges across the Ohio River to meet the region's travel needs. The East End Bridge is financed by Indiana and the Downtown Crossing is financed by Kentucky. The Downtown Crossing received a $452 million TIFIA loan in 2013, bringing TIFIA's financing for the entire project to the amount of $604 million toward the total project cost of more than $2 billion.

The Kentucky approach to the new bridge will extend I-265, also known as the Gene Snyder Freeway, or KY 841, from its current end at US 42 to the bridge, and adding two new lanes in each direction for 1.4 miles. The Indiana approach will also feature a four-lane section, and will extend SR 265 four miles from SR 62 to the bridge.

The Indiana Finance Agency (IFA) will receive the TIFIA loan for the East End Crossing and will enter into agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation, which gives the state the rights to use the road in exchange for payments to the IFA. These payments will be applied by the IFA to the TIFIA Loan.

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. To date, the USDOT has financed $2.6 billion in FY 2015 to support transportation infrastructure across the country.

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