Project Will Reduce Traffic Congestion, Enhance Community Livability, and Turn Lower Downtown Into Regional Transportation Hub
Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, welcomed today’s announcement from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that Denver Union Station will receive $300 million in federal funding for a redevelopment project. Bennet telephoned LaHood to express support for the funding earlier this year.
The redevelopment project is an intermodal 50-acre public-private development undertaking located in lower downtown Denver. The loans will finance the transportation component which includes an underground bus terminal with 22 bays, a station for existing and planned light rail routes and a commuter rail station that will also serve Amtrak. Specific projects include extension of the 16th Street Mall and the Shuttle service; accommodation of the Downtown Circulator service; and pedestrian improvements as well as improved street and replacement parking and utility infrastructure. Integration of these services will provide travelers seamless connections, and access to public spaces.
Since 2000, downtown Denver has averaged 6.6 percent annual growth. The project will have an immediate positive benefit on the economy and it is estimated that the Denver Union Station public sector investments will create more than 7,000 new jobs during construction. Completion of construction is expected to take four years.
“This is a transforming moment for Denver, the Front Range and all of Colorado,” Bennet said. “Every day, thousands of Front Range Residents come through Union Station to get to work or see a Rockies game, but the new station will have an even greater reach as a state-of-the-art hub for the growing transportation network that will connect cities and towns across the West, spurring economic development and helping local businesses extend their customer and employee base.
“This project will also create thousands of jobs and multiply options for public transportation, easing congestion and pollution. Many local leaders across the Front Range have worked hard to get this project off the ground, and this funding will ensure that their vision for Union Station goes forward as planned.”
The funds are part of a historic innovative financing arrangement utilizing Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program. This is a unique financing structure and the first time the Department has combined credit assistance from both programs.
The loan funding is being awarded to the Denver Union Station Project Authority (DUSPA), a non-profit, public benefit entity formed by the city in July 2008, through a partnership with the Regional Transportation District (RTD), City and County of Denver, Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver Regional Council of Governments, and Denver Union Station Metropolitan District.
Together the TIFIA and RRIF loans constitute approximately 62 percent of all funding sources for the project. Under the financing plan, an RTD bond as well as tax increment financing pledged to DUSPA will be used to repay the debt. RTD will assist with the construction management of the transportation improvements and will own and operate the facilities after the construction period.
The TIFIA and RRIF loan programs can help advance qualified projects that otherwise might be difficult to finance because of the size, complexity, or uncertainty over the timing of project cash flows.