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US DOT Expands New Infrastructure Aid

Thursday, August 2, 2012

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The federal government is offering states and cities nationwide a shot at a record $17 billion in loans for critical infrastructure projects, funded by the new surface transportation bill.

The Department of Transportation announced July 27 that it would accept letters of interest for funding by the TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) program.

 Virginia’s Midtown/Downtown Tunnel


Virginia’s Midtown/Downtown Tunnel is one of 27 major projects nationwide to have leveraged TIFIA funding.

A wide range of critical transportation projects is eligible for the funding, including bridges, tunnels, highways and passenger rail projects. Even international bridges and tunnels are eligible, according to DOT.

“Because of the flexibility provided by the TIFIA programs, many qualified, large-scale projects that might otherwise be delayed or shelved can move forward quickly, providing an immediate boost to jobs while laying a foundation for continued economic growth,” DOT said in a release.

Record Funding

Part of the $105 billion MAP-21 surface transportation bill, which President Obama signed July 6, the TIFIA program provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit to major infrastructure projects that can demonstrate the potential to create jobs and spur economic development and growth.

The MAP-21 bill provides $1.7 billion in capital over two years for the TIFIA credit assistance program, up from $120 million in FY2012, making it the largest transportation infrastructure finance fund in the Department’s history.

Leveraging Aid

According to DOT, each dollar of federal funds “can provide about $10 in TIFIA credit assistance, meaning $17 billion in loans through TIFIA, which in turn can leverage $20-$30 billion in transportation infrastructure investment. Altogether, the expanded federal loan program could result in up to $50 billion in federal, state, local and private-sector investment” for transportation projects.

The notice of funding availability can be found here. A template for the letter of interest is available in a PDF version or Microsoft Word version.

‘Big Things’

“Americans have always done big things—not in spite of hard times, but as a means of overcoming them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “That’s why the Obama Administration is launching the largest infrastructure loan program in our history.

“These investments will help cities and states create jobs right away building the big transportation projects we need to make sure our economy continues to grow and prosper.”

To date, the TIFIA program has used $9.2 billion in funding to leverage more than $36.4 billion in private and other capital to help build 27 major transportation projects around the country. In the past, TIFIA has supported signature projects like the Presidio Parkway Project in California, which is replacing the structurally and seismically deficient access road to the Golden Gate Bridge.

TIFIA funding is also being used for the Miami Intermodal Facility in Florida, Denver Union Station, the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels in Virginia, and other projects

Other Project Assistance

In addition to the expanded TIFIA funding, DOT announced the establishment of the Project Finance Center (PFC) to help state and local government project sponsors analyze financial options for highway, transit, rail, intermodal and other surface transportation projects facing funding challenges.

The center will provide technical assistance to state and local project sponsors that are seeking financial support.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Economy; Funding; Government; Infrastructure; Roads/Highways; Transportation; Tunnel

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/3/2012, 9:00 AM)

Loans mean that you're spending your future infrastructure dollars today and digging a deeper financial hole for the future.

Comment from James Johnson, (8/3/2012, 12:56 PM)

This article reads like an election year commercial - “That’s why the Obama Administration is launching the largest infrastructure loan program in our history." and “These investments will help cities and states create jobs right away..." And never once stating how this program is spending our and our childrens futures into indebtedness. Just what the people need - More Debt!

Comment from Raymond Merrill, (8/6/2012, 1:08 AM)

Whenever the words "infrastructure" and "jobs" are used together, One should, skeptically, ask whether the priority will be "infrastructure" or "jobs". If it is the former, than perhaps substantial progress can be made in addressing long neglected improvements to the nation's transportation system, with jobs created as a side benefit. If, however, it is the latter, than we can only look forward to more make work-jobs, resulting in more boondoggles like the Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere", California's high speed rail, and countless nonsensical "earmarks", with only marginal improvement in the nation's transportation system. So, which is it going to be? Infrastructure or jobs?

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