DOT Getting Ready to Award Infrastructure Project Loans

The agency's chief, Ray LaHood, announced up to $17 billion in loans will be available once the new federal funding law takes effect Oct. 1.

Moving quickly to be ready for the Oct. 1 effective date of the MAP-21 federal transportation funding law, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced as much as $17 billion in loans will be available for critical infrastructure projects. LaHood encouraged states and cities across the country to submit letters of interest for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, and it's clear there is high interest: A day in advance, registration had closed for an Aug. 1 TIFIA webinar starting at noon EDT and featuring Chris Bertram, DOT's assistant secretary for budget and programs and CFO. The event was already full.

TIFIA provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit to major infrastructure projects with the potential to create jobs and boost economic development and growth. According to DOT, the available loans may leverage $50 billion in infrastructure investment.

"Americans have always done big things, not in spite of hard times but as a means of overcoming them," LaHood said. "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."

MAP-21 provides $1.7 billion over two years for the TIFIA credit assistance program, up from $120 million in fiscal year 2012. Each dollar of federal funds can provide approximately $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and thus $17 billion in loans through TIFIA, so the impact comes to $50 billion because the loans can leverage up to $30 billion in transportation infrastructure investment.

TIFIA has assisted projects in a dozen states thus far.

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