Loudoun's Board of Supervisors in the months ahead must decide whether to pursue a federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan to help contain costs associated with Metro's Silver Line extension into Loudoun County.
If the county moves ahead with seeking the federal dollars, it will have to include the cost of constructing parking garages in its overall share of the Silver Line project's tab.
Without the garages, Loudoun County's Metro-related expenses have been estimated at approximately $260 million to $270 million for capital costs and $10 million to $20 million in annual operational costs once the project is completed.
The proposed TIFIA loan amount is $200 million.
“[U.S. Department of Transportation], who runs the TIFIA program, reaffirmed that there is a quid pro quo with the county that if the county wants to take advantage of TIFIA financing, we need to take on the obligation for garages,” County Administrator Tim Hemstreet told the board last month.
Hemstreet said the board will need to make a decision on TIFIA funds by early next year.
Martina Williams, the county's debt manager, said a TIFIA loan would allow the county to not make interest payments during the five-year construction of the project. Moreover, it provides for repayment of principle not until five years after substantial completion of the Silver Line, Williams noted.
“Both of these deferrals really help the county in that we're able to collect revenues from the Metrorail Service Tax Districts in order to build up cash reserves. This means that we can potentially reduce the amount of money to borrow later on,” she said.
The county has received four proposals for parking garages at the two Loudoun Silver Line stations, both in Ashburn.
Submissions for the garages have come in from Comstock Partners; West Dulles Properties and Structured Parking Solutions; Nexus Properties; and Trammell Crow Co. and Antigone Co.
Hemstreet called all the plans “viable.”
Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) commented, “It's clear to me that TIFIA is the right way for us to go here. It's going to allow us to rack up substantial cash because of the deferral. It's going to allow us to issue significantly less debt to get these things done.”