U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood approved a nearly $120 million loan that will enable Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to advance construction on the third phase of its light rail Orange Line extension project.
The extension, which will connect Irving, Texas, with Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW), is part of a long-term effort to create a 90-mile light rail network by 2014 to serve the Dallas metropolitan area.
DART’s $119.9 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan will help finance the $397 million Orange Line Phase III expansion. The 35-year direct loan will be used to fund construction of a key 5.17-mile segment of DART’s 14.5-mile light rail Orange Line.
Once completed, the expanded line will improve east-west connections between DFW and the DART system by connecting to the Green Line that runs through downtown Dallas as well as to other transit services, including commuter rail.
Since 1999, the TIFIA program has helped 30 projects turn $10.4 billion in credit assistance into $41.8 billion in infrastructure investment across America. The new surface transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), transforms TIFIA into the largest transportation infrastructure loan program in history, making available up to $17 billion in credit assistance for critical infrastructure projects.