The U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Highway Administration has decided to make a loan of $450 million to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to complete the states funding package for the $3.3 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge reconstruction project.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said the Bay Bridge loan and others like it made through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (TIFIA) provide credit assistance to projects that might not receive financing otherwise. "The investments we are making in California and across the country will provide an economic boost while improving the transportation infrastructure, all at a cost savings to the taxpayer," he said. "At the same time, this particular loan will help to advance the bridge project, which is vital to the safety and the mobility of residents and visitors in the Bay Area."
The $3.3 billion Bay Bridge reconstruction consists of replacing the east span and seismically retrofitting the west span of the 8.5-mile bridge. The east span is a 4.7-mile truss structure extending from Yerba Buena Island to Oakland. The west span is about 3.8 miles long, extending from San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island.
The existing bridge is 60 years old and carries about 272,000 vehicles a day. Damage to the bridge during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake forced the closure of the east span for four weeks. Subsequent investigation showed that the east span probably would not withstand another significant earthquake.
The Bay Bridge loan is estimated to cost the federal government $1.3 million. A seismic toll surcharge on seven bridges in the Bay Area will provide the revenue stream to repay the TIFIA loan. The Bay Bridge projects financing package also includes capital market debt, state contributions and state federal-aid highway funding.