Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that the United States Department of Transportation issued its approval to provide a $1.2 billion Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the I-66 Outside the Beltway public-private partnership transportation project.
The TIFIA loan represents 33 percent of the project’s total cost. The Commonwealth’s private partner on the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project, a consortium of Cintra, Meridiam, Ferrovial Agroman US and Allan Myers, known as Express Mobility Partners (EMP) are responsible for designing, building, financing, operating, and maintaining the I-66 project.
“The I-66 Outside the Beltway project is a prime example of how working collaboratively and creatively with all parties can achieve major transportation improvements that benefit and protect Virginia taxpayers,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Securing a TIFIA loan was critical to the Commonwealth and its private partner’s ability to move forward and deliver this important public-private partnership transportation project. I am proud of the bipartisan work this administration has done to reform Virginia’s P3 program to increase competition, accountability and transparency in P3 projects.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and EMP team have been working to develop design plans for the express lanes project. Financial close for the overall project is expected this November. The public will have an opportunity to review and provide comments on the latest project design plans at public hearings scheduled on November 13, 14 and 16. Initial construction will begin later this year, and heavy construction throughout the entire corridor is expected to be in full swing in the spring of 2018.
Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne added, “Today’s milestone of achieving a TIFIA loan will allow the express lanes project on I-66 Outside the Beltway to move ahead, providing much-needed new choices and improving travel on I-66.” Secretary Layne continued, “This achievement could not have happened without a strong partnership between the USDOT, Commonwealth, communities in Northern Virginia, and EMP. We appreciate our partners’ hard work and shared commitment to get this critical project completed.”
“This is an important milestone in securing our project financing package, and we are focused on achieving full financial close in the near future,” commented Javier Gutierrez, chief executive officer for I-66 Express Mobility Partners. “Once we achieve financial close, our focus will be on securing design approvals and beginning construction on this transformational project. We have been working closely with our partners at VDOT, our design-build contractor FAM Construction, and the local community to ensure that we deliver a dramatically improved travel experience on a safer, more efficient I-66.”
The project requires zero public investment and Virginia’s private partner will provide an upfront payment of approximately $500 million that will be used to fund additional transportation improvements in the corridor. Additionally, the comprehensive agreement requires EMP to pay a net present value of $800 million for transit service in the corridor and $350 million for other projects to improve the I-66 corridor over the next 50 years.
The project will modify nearly 23 miles of I-66 providing two express lanes alongside three regular lanes from I-495 to Route 29 in Gainesville in each direction, with dedicated express lane access points, and space in the median reserved for future transit. In addition, the project consists of 4,000 park-n-ride spaces, new and expanded bus service throughout the corridor, safety and operational improvements at key interchanges, auxiliary lanes between interchanges, and bicycle and pedestrian upgrades.
The express lanes are scheduled to open in 2022.