Even with the loan, Deal has said, the project isn't necessarily a done deal.
"The governor has scheduled a meeting with transportation agencies next week to discuss our next steps," Robinson wrote in an email Friday.
In an interview two weeks ago, Deal said that winning the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan “would certainly make it a lot easier to go forward. But we would still have to make the final judgment call looking at what the TIFIA loan amount was, coupled with the private investment, coupled with the state’s obligations. We’re not saying that that’s a make-it-or-break-it proposition.”
Although the project would likely be built by private companies who would be repaid by toll revenue, private investment and the federal loan would still not be enough to pay for it all. Even with the full loan, the state DOT said Georgia taxpayers may have to contribute up to $350 million to the project.
Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed together lobbied U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for the TIFIA loan.
“We stressed to him the importance of that as a part of the funding formula that we were looking at and how important we considered it to be,” Deal said.
Transportation officials here have said that cooperation between Deal, who served with LaHood in Congress, and Reed, who has a high profile nationally, has been noticed and productive in Washington.