Atlanta lands federal loan to add toll lanes to I-75 and I-575

| Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The proposed expansion of interstate highways in Atlanta has been on-again, off-again for a few years, but it’s on again thanks to a loan from the federal government.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Tuesday, July 19, that their state has received a TIFIA loan of up to $275 billion from the Federal Highway Administration.

TIFIA stands for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998. The program offers credit assistance and loans to finance large-scale projects. Many TIFIA projects are toll roads or toll lanes that involve congestion relief.

The Atlanta project is no exception. The proposed Northwest Corridor Project would add express toll lanes to I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties. The total price tag is close to $1 billion.

Once built, it will be the first toll project under the state’s new public-private law. The eventual private operator of the managed lanes will repay the federal government using toll revenue.

Other states have used TIFIA funds to build toll lanes in recent months and years.

Back in April, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood awarded a $418 million loan to the North Texas Tollway Authority to complete the State Highway 161 toll road in Dallas County. The total price tag on the roadway, also called the President George Bush Turnpike, is $1.2 billion.

See related story:
Atlanta project includes reversible lane on I-75

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