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Virginia to use bonds for $765m tunnel project

Governor Terry McAuliffe said the state will raise debt through a combination of federal and state bonds to pay for the two-lane expansion.

Virginia plans to finance a $765 million expansion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel primarily through federal and state bonds, Governor Terry McAuliffe said on Tuesday.

The bonds will be issued to build an additional two-lane tunnel west of the existing Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) and under the Thimble Shoal Channel.

The project is being financed through a $338.5 million federal bond provided by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, a program providing credit assistance for qualified projects. Virginia will also issue a $321.5 million revenue bond and a $50 million state bond from its state infrastructure bank.

“The Commonwealth's infrastructure bank issues low-interest loans to help fund high priority projects that will improve transportation and benefit the economy,” Virginia transportation secretary Aubrey Layne said.

The tunnel expansion project was awarded in July to the Chesapeake Tunnel Joint Venture, a consortium including Dragados USA and Schiavone Construction. The project is expected to break ground next October.

“The new tunnel will carry more traffic safely and efficiently, further improving transportation for the entire region,” Layne added.

McAualiffe said the tunnel expansion will improve safety, allow more travelers and spur economic growth. “The CBBT is the only direct link between Hampton Roads and Virginia's Eastern Shore, making this facility a vital and convenient connection, supporting commerce in the region,” he said.