Fairfax County to Submit a Formal TIFIA Loan Application to Help Pay for Silver Line Metro

February 24, 2014

News Highlights

  • Federal officials invited the county on Feb. 21 to officially apply for loan under Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. This money will help pay for the county's share of the Silver Line Metro.
  • If ultimately approved, the county may receive $403 million from the low-interest rate TIFIA loan.
  • Interest rates are comparable to a 30-year U.S. Treasury note, and the county will not have to repay the money until five years after the project is completed.

Fairfax County will now begin the process to submit its official application for a federal loan to help pay for the Silver Line, following federal approval last Friday to move forward.

Along with the rail project’s other partners, Fairfax will jointly apply for about $1.9 billion. The money will come from the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).

If approved, the county may receive approximately $403 million dollars from the low-interest loan. The remainder will be shared by the other partners—Loudoun County and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the largest beneficiary from the loan, which may get about $1.2 billion.

The loan application and review process is expected to take a number of months. Each partner must apply separately for the money.

 “I am pleased that the USDOT has asked Fairfax County to apply for a TIFIA loan for the Dulles Metrorail Project,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “Rail to Dulles is one of the most important and valuable transportation infrastructure projects in the United States. TIFIA financing would support the final completion of the project by 2018 by reducing the total cost of financing and keeping toll rates low for commuters.”

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.

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.

The TIFIA loan was an element to the 2011 revised financing deal for the rail project.

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