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e.spire Secures $50 Million in Vendor Financing

Total GATX Commitment Now Exceeds $70 Million

ANNAPOLIS JUNCTION, Md., Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- e.spire Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: ESPI) today announced that it has obtained an additional commitment of $50 million in capital lease financing from GATX Capital Corporation, a diversified financial services company, and its telecommunications investing affiliate, GATX Telecom Investors II-A, L.L.C. The proceeds will be used primarily to finance Lucent Technologies, Inc. 5ESS(R) switches, including remote modules and associated software, as well as other related telecommunications networking equipment. Combined with a previous $22 million capital lease agreement, this financing increases the total commitment of GATX's affiliates to e.spire to more than $70 million.

"Gaining access to this incremental capital further supplements our cash resources and is an important step as we expand our national voice and data footprint," said Anthony J. Pompliano, e.spire Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We are extremely pleased to have the continued endorsement of GATX and believe that this funding, in conjunction with our $200 million senior secured credit facility completed in August, positions e.spire to proceed with additional financing initiatives as we aggressively execute our business objectives."

GATX Capital Corporation is a diversified global financial services company that provides financing for transportation, industrial and information technology assets. It owns or manages assets with an original equipment cost of approximately $10 billion. GATX Capital is a subsidiary of GATX Corporation (NYSE: GMT), which combines unique financing, asset and logistics solutions for customers and partners worldwide. GATX's major assets are comprised of rail cars, locomotives, commercial aircraft, bulk liquid terminals and distribution systems, and technology equipment. For further information on GATX Capital Corporation, contact www.gatxcapital.com. For further information on GATX Corporation, contact www.gatx.com .

e.spire Communications, Inc. is a leading integrated communications provider, offering traditional local and long distance, Internet access and Web-hosting services, and advanced data solutions, such as ATM and frame relay. In addition, e.spire's subsidiary, ACSI NT, provides third parties, including other communications concerns, municipalities and corporations, with turnkey fiber-optic design, construction and project management expertise. For more information on e.spire, contact www.espire.net.

Certain statements regarding the development of the Company's businesses, the markets for the Company's services and products, the Company's anticipated capital expenditures, anticipated EBITDA and other statements are forward-looking statements (as such term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) which can be identified as any statement that does not relate strictly to historical or current facts. Forward-looking statements use such words as plans, expects, will, will likely result, are expected to, will continue, is anticipated, estimate, project, believes, anticipates, intends and expects, may, should, continue, seek, could and other similar expressions. Although the Company believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be achieved. The important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements herein (the "Cautionary Statements") include, without limitation, the Company's degree of financial leverage, risks associated with debt service requirements and interest rate fluctuations, risks associated with acquisitions and the integration thereof, the impact of restriction under the Company's financial instruments, dependence on availability of transmission facilities, regulation risks including the impact of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, contingent liabilities, the impact of competitive services and pricing, the ability of the Company to successfully implement its strategies, as well as the other risks referenced from time to time in the Company's filings with the SEC, including the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1998. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to the Company or persons acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the Cautionary Statements. The Company does not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions to such forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

SOURCE GATX Capital Corporation

CONTACT: Peggy Disney of e.spire Communications, 703-639-6738, e-mail, peggy.disney@espire.net; Tania Almond of e.spire Communications, 301-361-4800, e-mail, tania.almond@espire.net; or George S. Lowman of GATX Corporation, 312-621-6599, e-mail, gslowman@gatx.com/