Metro Magazine

AUG 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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30 < m ETRO m AGAZINE AUGUST 2014 RAIL PROJECTS unit vehicles. In addition, the total proj- ect cost under is $2.04 billion, of which $1.03 billion is paid for with a New Starts FFGA, which RTD obtained in August 2011. Te rest is funded by sales-tax pro- ceeds from Denver's voter-approved Fas- Tracks program, as well as equity and private activity bond proceeds contrib- uted by DTP. RTD will pay the DTP consortium through a series of availability payments for designing and constructing the proj- ect. In addition, the structured payments incentivizes DTP to help finance the project, which also includes providing an equity stake in the project. RTD ofcials believe there are sever- al advantages of this approach. First, the public owner and the taxpayers as well as the residents it services will enjoy a new network of commuter rail service sever- al years faster and at less cost to the tax- payer than it would be the case if deliv- ered and funded with traditional means. In addition, the project aims to showcase additional innovations and a level of quality that are incentivized by the con- cession agreement. Because of the ef- ciencies and synergies a private consor- tium of companies are able to provide, including financial equity and loans made possible by this method of con- tracting, the private companies are able to earn a higher proft — but only if they make good on their contractual promis- es of delivery speed, cost-efectiveness, and service innovation and quality. Revenue operations are scheduled for opening throughout 2016, opening each line separately with the fnal one by De- cember of that year. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 Tucson: How TIGER changed the streetcar equation Another signifcant source of funding beyond traditional federal Major Capi- tal Investment programs has been the Transportation Investments Generat- ing Economic Recovery (TIGER) pro- gram administered by the Ofce of the Secretary of Transportation. While TI- GER has helped to fund a variety of rail transit projects, it has been particular- ly helpful for streetcar lines, which tra- ditionally have not "scored" well in the evaluation criteria established by law for the traditional FTA program. TIGER is designed to help fund proj- ects that could help generate economic Portland: Acting when the LRT coalition falls apart A case study in how to rebuild a coalition — and re- vise the previously agreed-upon funding plan accord- ingly — in the wake of changing politics is what has hap- pened to the Columbia River Crossing. Previously, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (Tri-Met) along with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WDOT) obtained federal funding to construct the multimodal project that includes replace- ment of Interstate 5 (I-5) bridges spanning the Colum- bia River, installation of variable electronic tolls across the new bridges, park-and-ride lots, bike and pedestri- an improvements, and an extension of Portland's exist- ing light rail transit (LRT) system. Tri-Met will operate and maintain the LRT extension. All had been proceeding roughly as planned; the FTA approved the project into preliminary engineering in December 2009. Te project published the fnal envi- ronmental document in September 2011, and the FTA issued its Record of Decision in December of the same year. Te project sponsors anticipated receiving a FFGA sometime this year. Ten In June of last year, the Washington State Legis- lature tabled the bill providing its funding commitment, which forced ODOT and Tri-Met to remove WDOT as a project sponsor and to rework the funding plan for the project. ODOT and Tri-Met then closed the gap left by Washington's exit by making several changes to both the project's scope and fnancial plan. Several highway interchanges on the Washington State of the Columbia River were taken out of the project, which decreased the project's cost by $85 million, to $2.712 billion. Te sourc- es of funds in the project fnancial plan were revised, in- cluding nearly $230 million in pre-completion toll rev- enue and $45 million in shifted local Tri-Met funding. Te U.S. DOT also in increased the TIFIA loan amount by $50 million to $900 million. Signifcantly, the revenue opening year was preserved, remaining at 2019. The Oregon Columbia River Crossing project serves as a case study in how to rebuild a coalition in the wake of changing politics. Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

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