April 18, 2011
The U.S. Department of Transportation will provide an estimated $418.4 million loan that will bring congestion relief to drivers in Dallas County by helping pay for the construction of the final phase of State Highway 161, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on April 15.
The North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) will use the loan to repay bond notes issued to finance the construction of the project.
“The Highway 161 project will reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility for commercial drivers and commuters in the Dallas area,” LaHood said in a prepared statement. “It will be good for business and the economy, and will help keep America competitive.”
SH 161 will extend the roadway from State Highway 183 to Interstate 20 about 11.3 miles along the western boundary of Dallas County. It will provide a natural extension to the heavily congested President George Bush Turnpike. A substantial portion of SH 161 is already complete and generating revenue through tolls.
“This project is helping to meet critical transportation and economic needs in the area,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said in a press statement. “With less traffic, the entire region will function more efficiently and increase its productivity.”
SH 161 will serve as a major link within the Dallas-Fort Worth regional transportation network, reducing congestion along adjacent corridors and improving the travel experience in surrounding communities. Overall, the project will ensure smoother and more efficient traffic flow of workers and goods by creating a parallel route to the currently congested State Highway 360.
The Department’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which provides credit assistance for infrastructure projects, provided the estimated $418.4 million loan. It will be drawn when construction is substantially complete on the $1.2 billion toll road. NTTA has pledged to set tolls to repay the loan.
The TIFIA loan was made possible through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant.