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The Associated Press April 13, 2012, 2:31PM ET

Feds OK $422M loan for Va. tunnel project

The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing a $422 million loan to help pay for a new tunnel connecting Norfolk and Portsmouth in Virginia.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the loan's approval Friday.

The new Midtown Tunnel will be built near the existing tunnel. The $2.1 billion plan includes rehabilitating the existing tunnel and the Downtown Tunnel, and extending the Martin Luther King Freeway.

The state plans to charge tolls at the existing tunnels to help pay for the project, which will be a public-private partnership with Elizabeth River Crossings Opco, LLC.

Global construction firm and developer Skanska said Friday that it will invest up to $136 million in the project as part of Elizabeth River Crossings. It's the company's first public-private partnership in the U.S.

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