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Sooner State set to receive multi-million dollar federal loan for rural highway safety

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Sooner State set to receive multi-million dollar federal loan for rural highway safety
Rural highway 33 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, is shown. (Courtesy: Google Maps)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced that its Build America Bureau has provided a low-interest, long-term loan of $41.55 million to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to finance 49% of the $85.97 million in eligible costs for the Rural Two-Lane Advancement And Management Plan (RAAMP).

The bureau helps communities across the country reduce the costs of infrastructure projects by providing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans, known as TIFIA loans, as well as other types of financing. Under the Rural Projects Initiative (RPI), the loan is for nearly half the project costs instead of the customary 33%, according to a news release.

“The project will provide significant safety improvements, one of the primary objectives of RAAMP,” the news release stated.

The project is a compilation of eight rural projects that will add nearly 27 miles of 8-foot shoulders and asphalt resurfacing as well as 6.4 miles of roadway reconstruction. The projects are located in Harper, Kingfisher, Pontotoc, Caddo, Pittsburg, McClain, Bryan and Ellis counties.

“Over the last five years, 38 percent of all serious and fatal crashes in Oklahoma have occurred on rural roads with no shoulders,” Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg said. “USDOT is proud to support the RAAMP program to help address safety issues and save lives in Oklahoma.”

In January, amid recent troubling increases in deaths on America’s roads, the USDOT launched a comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy. To help reverse these trends and save lives, the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes funding to address safety, especially in rural areas, where a disproportionate number of traffic injuries and fatalities occur.

“The Bureau’s Rural Project Initiative provides flexibility to deliver much-needed improvements sooner with very favorable financing terms,” Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian said. “This is our fifth RPI loan closed at half the Treasury rate, which saves project sponsors money and avoids escalating costs that make the projects more and more unattainable.”

The TIFIA RPI helps improve transportation infrastructure in America’s rural communities. Under this initiative, a surface transportation project between $10 million and $100 million in an area with a population less than 150,000 can be eligible for financing with significant savings over traditional TIFIA loans and other commercial financing products, including:

Loans for up to 49% of the project’s eligible costs (compared to 33% under traditional TIFIA).

Fixed interest rates equal to one half of the U.S. Treasury rate of equivalent maturity of the loan at the time of closing (traditional TIFIA loans have interest rates equal to the U.S. Treasury rate at the time of closing).

To date, the USDOT has closed more than $38.3 billion in TIFIA financings, supporting more than $131.7 billion in infrastructure investment across the country.

 

The Trucker News Staff

The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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