Under previous forecasts, toll increases would have continued through 2043, when drivers could have been paying as much as $16.75.
“Current conditions in the tax-exempt bond market provided us a rare opportunity a few days ago to issue new bonds are a very low interest rate, which lets us pay off the TIFIA loan early and realize almost $620 million in debt-service savings for the years 2020 through 2043,” MWAA chief executive Jack Potter said at Wednesday’s board meeting.
Some history here: in 2014, MWAA, along with its funding partners, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, received a nearly $2-billion TIFIA loan to help finance construction of the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line. TIFIA stands for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. It’s a low-interest loan program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The loan represented roughly one-third of the rail line’s projected cost.
As Potter noted, the recent transaction enables MWAA to pay the loan back early, which saves on interest, which could translate to fewer toll increases.
“In fact, after the year 2033, when our current rate schedule has toll rates for a single trip costing $8.75, we may not need any further toll increases at all,” Potter said. “We think being able to hold [tolls] to $8.75, when they reach that level in 2033, is good news for toll road users in the years ahead.”