BRADENTON, Fla. — A $1.1 billion transportation project aimed at alleviating congestion around Atlanta has qualified to apply for a low-interest federal loan as part of the financing plan.

The U.S. Department of Transportation approved filing an application for the Northwest Corridor project to receive a $270 million loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, state and local officials announced Tuesday.

If approved, the loan would help minimize the cost of the 29-mile Northwest Corridor toll project that will involve the addition of reversible managed lanes along Interstates 75 and 575.

The project will be done through a public-private partnership and a concession contract. Financing may include the use of private-activity bonds.

“This TIFIA loan would help to materialize a major infrastructure investment leading to jobs being created much sooner than would be otherwise possible,” Georgia DOT Commissioner Vance Smith said.

GDOT had put on hold the final selection of a concessionaire to await the TIFIA announcement, an agency spokesman said.

Three consortiums representing 15 local, national and international firms have been qualified to respond to a request for proposals, which may be released soon since TIFIA funding is a step closer to being approved, the spokesman said.

The winning concessionaire will finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the Northwest Corridor with some or all of the toll revenues from the project.

GDOT had said initially that it anticipated contributing $350 million from public sources to support the project, including payment of right of way costs and periodic payments to the developer.

The department also said that it would assist the concessionaire in accessing the TIFIA program as well as obtaining private-activity bonding capacity and other potential sources of funding. More details about the funding will be known when the RFP is released.

The Northwest Corridor concessionaire will also do pre-development work on an associated project: the 27-mile, $1.2 billion Western Corridor that will provide tolled managed lanes on I-285 West and I-20 West.

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