By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike is planning to borrow a big chunk of money from foreign investors to help finance construction of the long-awaited connector to I-95 in Bucks County.

Spokesman Carl DeFebo says the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to take advantage of a federal program that provides access to capital from overseas investors at lower rates.  In return, the investors and their families are able to live in the United States.

DeFebo, who says the turnpike plans to borrow $200 million and is expected to save $35 million, also says the plan has been thoroughly vetted.

“We looked at it, and it definitely benefitted the turnpike commission,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “So we’re moving ahead with this as a kind of pilot project, and if it’s something that works out well for us, then we’ll likely use it again on other projects that are applicable.”

The first phase of the project, which will establish the connection between the turnpike and I-95, is expected to be completed in 2017 (see related story), with additional improvements to follow.