The U.S. Department of Transportation has invited Chicago to submit its formal application for a $100 million TIFIA loan to help finance completion of the Chicago Riverwalk, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced last week.

The project calls for a continuous walkway that connects Lake Michigan and the branches of the Chicago River. The city is seeking a loan under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act to finance most of the cost connecting the main branch to the lake.

“This is exactly the kind of project Congress had in mind when they expanded the TIFIA loan program last year,” LaHood said at a news conference last week with Emanuel.

In addition to the Riverwalk project, the Chicago Park District is working with private partners to construct four new river boathouses and the Environmental Protection Agency is providing nearly $1 million in grants to community partners to eradicate invasive plants and create environmental cleanup positions.

TIFIA provides federal credit assistance through direct loans, loan guarantees and standby lines of credit to finance infrastructure projects.

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