The U.S.  Dept. of Transportation has selected a total of five major transportation projects in four states to apply for federal loans to help finance their construction.

DOT announced on April 24 that it will permit two projects in California and one each in Colorado, Texas and Virginia to apply for loans, loan guarantees or other credit assistance under its Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. 

The department next will review the loan applications for the five projects.

TIFIA has become popular among states and in Congress because each dollar in direct federal subsidy supports $10 in loan value.  A TIFIA loan, in turn, constitutes a key element of even bigger financial packages for major roads, bridges, transit lines and other projects.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “A little TIFIA goes a long way for communities that use these loans to leverage additional funding so they can tackle the big-picture transportation projects this country needs.”

The California projects selected are a $1.3-billion extension and additional lane for State Route 91 between Orange and Riverside counties and a $960-million replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach.

Also making the cut were Colorado’s $140-million U.S. Route 36 corridor bus rapid transit and other improvements; a $1.5-billion package of new toll roads and upgrades to non-toll lanes on Interstate 35W in Tarrant County, Texas; and a $927-million program in northern Virginia to convert and extend High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to High Occupancy Toll lanes 

DOT picked the five projects from 26 proposals it received for the 2012 round of the 14-year-old TIFIA program. Those letters of interest sought a total of $13 billion in loans.