While America waits for Congress to pass a comprehensive, long-term transportation plan, DOT and the Federal Highway Administration continue to help communities stretch the value of scarce local and state resources with our Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program.
The TIFIA program provides credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit to finance transportation projects of national and regional significance. States and local governments use the TIFIA assistance to get even more bang for their buck, leveraging the initial funds to secure access to capital markets, flexible repayment terms, and lower interest rates. Each dollar of Federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and leverage $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.
And last week, DOT invited five projects to apply for valuable TIFIA support:
- Port of Long Beach, CA, Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement adding capacity to the congested main link between the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which combine to form the largest port complex in the United States, accommodating 40 percent of the nation’s containerized cargo.
- Riverside County, CA, SR 91 Improvements to extend two tolled Express Lanes and construct one general purpose lane on an eight-mile segment where more than 280,000 vehicles per day use SR-91, and traffic volume is expected to increase by 50 percent by 2035.
- Colorado, US 36 Managed Lanes and Bus Rapid Transit to address the needs of the Denver metropolitan region, manage traffic capacity, and provide congestion-free, multimodal travel alternatives.
- Tarrant County, TX, Interstate 35W Improvements including managed toll lanes and upgrades to existing lanes and frontage roads expected to support new investment and private sector growth in Fort Worth.
- Northern Virginia, Interstate 95 Lane Development, an HOV-to-HOT lanes project designed to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions in northern Virginia on the I-95 corridor, where travelers now experience significant daily delays
These projects were selected from 26 letters of interest seeking more than $13 billion in assistance.
Through TIFIA, qualified, large-scale projects that otherwise might be delayed or deferred can advance. "TIFIA has been instrumental in moving projects forward," FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez said. "The program offers an additional finance option to meet transportation needs at a time when funds and certainty are both lacking."
The President has challenged us to build an economy that works for everyone and an America that lasts, and the tremendous demand for TIFIA loans shows how much communities across America want to do exactly that by upgrading their roads, transit and rail.
America's communities are doing what they can to tackle the big picture transportation projects this country needs, and a little TIFIA helps them go a long way down that important road.