FAST Act makes TIFIA more flexible

The US Department of Transportation hopes the loan programme's streamlined review process will entice a greater number of cities and state to apply.

US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx is inviting cities and states to apply for direct loans, loan guarantees and stand-by lines of credit through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) programme.

While the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the multi-year surface transportation bill that was signed into law last December , slashed the TIFIA programme from $1 billion a year to $1.4 billion over the next five years – a 71 percent cut – it has been expanded to include transit-oriented development and the capitalisation of a rural projects fund within a state infrastructure bank.

The FAST Act also made it possible for carry-over dollars to be rolled back into TIFIA over successive years, which was not the case under the previous legislation, MAP-21.

Speaking to Infrastructure Investor when the FAST Act had just been passed, Foxx said: “My hope is that we get a crush of business in TIFIA and that we prove that more funds are needed with Congress eventually coming back to the trough to put more dollars in.”

According a statement released on Friday, “Historically, one dollar of TIFIA Programme funds supported a TIFIA loan of approximately 14 dollars and resulted in infrastructure investment of up to 40 dollars, when taking into account other state, local and private sector investments.”

To date, the TIFIA programme has provided $22.7 billion in credit assistance to support more than $82.5 billion in transportation infrastructure investments to help build 56 major transportation projects across the US.

Projects that are eligible for TIFIA credit assistance include highways, bridges and tunnels, passenger and freight rail, public transit and intermodal freight facilities.