WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that its Build America Bureau (the Bureau) has provided a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) direct loan in the amount of up to $1.66 billion to Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) for the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT) Project and to cancel and replace the existing 2019 TIFIA HRTAC Loan. The DOT provides TIFIA and other surface transportation infrastructure financing through its Build America Bureau to reduce the costs of infrastructure projects.
The financing consists of two TIFIA direct loans to HRTAC for up to $1.16 billion to finance up to 33% of the approximately $4 billion eligible costs for the new HRBT Project, supported by the Hampton Roads Trust Fund (HRTF) and toll revenues.
The financing will also replace the existing $501 million TIFIA loans to HRTAC Regional Priority Project, which is a combination of 6 sub projects: I-64 Peninsula Widening (Phases I, II and III), I-64/I-264 Interchange Improvements (Phases I and II) and I-64 Southside Widening and High Rise Bridge Improvements located in the Hampton Roads, VA region. Replacement of the existing HRTAC loan will generate savings of approximately $50 million for HRTAC over the life of the loan enabling HRTAC to implement additional improvements and upgrades in their transportation network.
The HRBT Project is one of the Regional Priority Projects to create an eight-lane facility with six consistent lanes for approximately 10 miles. The expanded facility will include four general purpose lanes, two new High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes and two new drivable shoulders to be used as HOT lanes during certain times of the day. It is anticipated that the HOT lanes will be incorporated into the Hampton Roads Express Lane Network (HRELN). The Project will include the construction of two new two-lane tunnels, expansion of the existing portal islands, and full replacement of the existing trestle bridges at the HRBT.
The HRBT project benefits include: increasing mobility in the region and reducing congestion, creating construction jobs and encouraging regional development; improving safety by improving evacuation routes in case of disaster and providing additional capacity for quick and efficient deployment of military personnel while minimizing the impact to civilian traffic.
The Bureau, which administers the TIFIA credit program, was established as a “one-stop-shop” to streamline credit opportunities while also providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation. The Bureau has the resources and full commitment to provide additional flexibility and financial assistance to transportation projects in regions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize the negative effects and help them for quicker recovery from this crisis. The U.S. Department of Transportation has closed $36.1 billion in TIFIA financings, supporting more than $123 billion in infrastructure investment across the country.