The U.S. Transportation Department has issued a $421 million loan for the S.R. 91 Corridor Improvement Project in Southern California to increase capacity on the corridor and ease congestion on the Riverside County side of the highway.
DOT said the loan was made possible through "innovative federal financing assistance that partners with private sector investments to deliver large transportation infrastructure projects."
“President Obama called on us to ‘Fix it First’ by investing in the roads and bridges that need work now,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “This project is a job creator that will improve mobility in the region and better connect Orange and Riverside counties.”
S.R. 91 will extend the existing two 91 Express Lanes and construct one general purpose lane in each direction from the Orange County line to Interstate 15 in Riverside County, a distance of about eight miles. It also includes improvements to bridges and intersections and will add merge lanes for improved access.
Currently, more than 280,000 vehicles per day use S.R. 91 Express Lanes – the only freeway connecting Riverside and Orange counties, which have a combined population of 5.3 million people. Population growth in western Riverside County and increased employment opportunities in Orange County have led to worse congestion on S.R.-91, DOT said.
The department is providing the $421 million loan to the Riverside County Transportation Commission under its TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act) loan program. RCTC is advancing the project under an agreement with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to toll the new lanes for 50 years.