DOT announces $950M loan to Fla. highway project

The federal government is providing a $950 million loan to a project to expand Florida’s heavily-used Interstate 4 highway way in the Orlando area, the agency announced on Tuesday. 

The loan is being backed by the popular Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). It will be used to widen 21 miles of Interstate 4 and add four express lanes to the highway. 

Department of Transportation officials said Tuesday that the $950 million was the largest loan that has ever been given under the program to a public-private partnership. 

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“We’ve been able to move this project from the financing drawing board to breaking ground in near record time because of the Department’s early involvement,” Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxLyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO Hillicon Valley: Exclusive: Audit cleared Google's privacy practices despite security flaw | US weapon systems vulnerable to cyber attacks | Russian troll farm victim of arson attack | US telecom company finds 'manipulated' hardware MORE said in a statement. 

“The ‘I-4 Ultimate’ is the sort of highway improvement America’s drivers’ need, and it underscores the importance of passing the President’s GROW AMERICA Act to make more investments to modernize our aging roads to keep up with future demands,” Foxx continued, referencing President Obama’s proposal for a $302 billion transportation bill earlier this year. 

Lawmakers largely ignored Obama’s proposal for a multi-year transportation financing package, opting instead to pay a nearly $11 billion temporary highway bill this summer that is scheduled to last only until May 2015. 

Transportation department officials said the Florida loan was the 13th TIFIA award that has been issued this year. The 2014 TIFIA loans have helped finance $7.4 billion in transportation projects, the DOT added.