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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced yesterday a $180 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) for construction of the Lynx Blue Line light-rail extension.The loan will support the expansion of the light-rail system between Center City Charlotte and the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus."The Blue Line extension is an important piece of the overall transit system that Charlotte needs in order to thrive in the 21st century," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release.The loan will help lower the project's financing costs to ensure CATS can complete the project, USDOT officials said.USDOT’s TIFIA program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial non-federal investments. Each dollar of federal funding can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.In addition to the TIFIA loan, the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grant Program is providing $850 million for the $1.16 billion project.