The U.S. Department of Transportation Build America Bureau has provided a $908 million loan for Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Silver Line Regional Rail project, under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program.
It will refinance the original loan provided in December 2018. The proceeds will cover a portion of construction costs for the $1.2 billion project: a 26-mile double-track commuter rail alignment extending from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport eastward to Shiloh Road in Plano, Tex. The move is expected to save DART $190 million in interest costs, and that savings could be used to address a funding gap for other projects in the future.
According to USDOT, it has received “interest from existing borrowers to refinance their loans to help mitigate pandemic-related revenue loss and to take advantage of low interest rates.”
“The Department’s assistance helps DART deliver this ambitious project, which will extend service across the DART service area from the eastern edge across the northern suburbs and includes several infrastructure additions such as hike and bike trails, separated grade improvements, and full double-tracking across the entire segment,” DART interim President and CEO David Leininger said. “The ten platforms will also stimulate transit-oriented development across a broad swath of the region. Reducing interest costs on the loan will also play a crucial part in restoring DART’s long-term capital development capacity, which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
DART anticipates starting Silver Line revenue service by March 2023. Since 2018, all key project contracts have been awarded, project design has advanced and construction is under way. (See Railway Age sister publication Railway Track and Structure’s “DART Silver Line construction continues with Josey Lane Bridge in Carrollton.”)