City of Menifee Raises $20 Million Towards Newport Rd Improvement Project

Improving the Newport Rd overpass at the I-215 freeway took a step closer to reality last week when the City of Menifee was able to sell $20...

Improving the Newport Rd overpass at the I-215 freeway took a step closer to reality last week when the City of Menifee was able to sell $20 million of Transportation Revenue Certificates of Participation to investors. The newly acquired supply of cash, which will be paid back over 30 years from revenues collected from gas taxes and Measure A funds, was financed at a historically low interest rate of 4.26%.

That low rate was made possible due to the City's "A" rating, thanks in part to its strong financial position, as well as strong investor demand.

"The City's success in the sale of these Transportation Revenue Certificates of Participation at these advantageous rates is a tribute to the strength of the City's financial position and the strong leadership of the City Council", said Bill Rawlings, City Manager.

"In this tough economic climate, we're going to need strong leadership and a creative approach towards finding funding for needed traffic solutions.", said Darcy Kuenzi, city councilmember. "It's going to take a team approach between the city council and the city staff."

The $20 million covers roughly 50% of the projected total cost of widening the Newport Rd overpass. A presentation by David Taussig & Associates on December 20, 2010, estimated that the project would cost approximately $40 million.

The project will modify the existing interchange and overpass to alleviate current congestion and handle new capacity due to growth in the area and region. Newport Rd is the City's major thoroughfare and a regional interchange that carries commuter traffic between the I-15 and the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley.

The Certificates were sold through the Total Road Improvement Program (TRIP) offered by California Communities, a joint powers authority sponsored by the League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties. Menifee was able to secure the lowest interest rates seen in the program.

The $20 million in funds is legally restricted for use on local transportation projects only.

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