31 July 2012
US transportation secretary Ray LaHood has announced a US$17 billion expansion of funding for transport projects including bridges.
The new funding results from the recently enacted surface transportation bill and could leverage up to US$50bn in investment.
States and cities across the country are being encouraged to submit letters of interest for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (TIFIA) programme, which provides direct loans, loan guarantees and standby lines of credit to major infrastructure projects.
A wide range of transport projects are eligible for the funding, including highway and passenger rail projects, public transit and international bridges and tunnels. TIFIA programmes are designed to be flexible so that large-scale projects that might otherwise be delayed or shelved can move forward.
The recently enacted surface transportation bill provided US$1.7 billion in capital over two years for the TIFIA credit assistance programme. Each dollar of federal funds can provide approximately US$10 in TIFIA credit assistance, meaning US$17bn in loans through TIFIA, which in turn could leverage US$20-US$3bn in transportation infrastructure investment. Altogether, the expanded federal loan program could result in up to $50bn in federal, state, local and private sector investment for critical transportation projects across the country, according to the US Department of Transportation.
The TIFIA programme has already used US$9.2 billion in funding to leverage more than US$36.4 billion in private and other capital to help build 27 major projects around the country. Supported projects include the Presidio Parkway project in California, which is replacing the structurally and seismically deficient access road to the Golden Gate Bridge.