Fairfax County's Federal Loan for the Silver Line Approved
May 1, 2014
Fairfax County’s federal loan request for $403 million to help pay for the Silver Line was officially approved.
The money will come from the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). USDOT will loan the rail project’s partners, including Fairfax, nearly $1.9 billion in total—and this amount is the largest financing program’s history, according to federal officials.
“Low interest financing for Dulles Rail will keep toll rates low and keep the project on track for 2018,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova. “The Silver Line is the largest and most significant transportation project in the country today and is vitally important to the economic growth of Fairfax County, the region and the Commonwealth.”
Fairfax applied for money in conjunction with Loudoun County and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the project’s other partners. However, each entity applied for money separately.
The loan is expected to close in the next several months. TIFIA loans offer interest rates comparable to a 30-year U.S. Treasury note. Federal rules also allow Fairfax County to defer payments for five years after the project is finished. Because the Silver Line is expected to be completed in 2018, Fairfax could wait to pay until 2023.
Last spring, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed to back the loan with money from the tax district for the rail line’s second phase and commercial and industrial taxes.As a precondition to apply for the loan, the U.S. DOT had to approve the project’s credit worthiness.
The TIFIA loan was an element to the 2011 revised financing deal for the rail project.