The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is a convenient and affordable transportation solution for many commuters in Northern Virginia. VRE is jointly owned by the Northern Virginia Transportation District Commission (NVTC) and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation District Commission. In a part of the state that faces frequent traffic congestion, VRE provides a safe and comfortable way for residents along the I-66 and I-95 corridors to reach employment centers in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
VRE started service in 1992, operating 16 trains from 16 different stations and carrying, on average, 5,800 passengers daily. Today, VRE has expanded to 32 trains serving 19 stations and carries, on average, 20,000 passengers daily. To provide for increased commuter demand, in 2007 VRE secured a Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) $69 million loan from the Federal Railroad Administration to purchase 60 new railcars, 35 to replace older railcars and 25 to provide expanded capacity.
VRE approached VRA seeking a VPFP loan to refinance the RRIF loan. Using the VPFP allows VRE to be a wise steward of its resources by accessing capital at a lower rate and sharing costs of issuance with a pool of borrowers. In the 2018 VPFP transaction, the NVTC, on behalf of VRE, refunded $51.7 million in prior debt for net present value debt service savings in excess of $6.97 million (13.49% of refunded par).
"VRA's team was great to work with, from the initial discussions and application through to the final closing," said Mark Schofield, VRE Chief Financial Officer, "In particular, they took the time to understand the commuter rail business and were willing to be flexible on financing terms where our needs differed from their usual borrowers."
Working with the VRE is just another example of how VRA impacts residents across the Commonwealth, making Virginia a great place to live, work and play!