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Innovative transportation projects need innovative financing..like TIFIA

Innovative transportation projects need innovative financing..like TIFIA

Photo of Secretary Foxx at Senate Committee hearing, courtesy Win McNamee, Getty ImagesYesterday, I made my first Congressional appearance as Secretary where I discussed DOT's TIFIA loan program with the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. Because our Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program (TIFIA) is so effective, it's a subject I'm happy to talk about.

TIFIA loans help projects secure far more funding than just what DOT extends, and this helps American taxpayers get way more bang for their buck. It is exactly the kind of program I was talking about last week when I blogged here about improving efficiency and maximizing the impact of every dollar entrusted to us.

I know from experience that mayors and governors across the country are looking for ways to get more out of taxpayer dollars while still making critical investments in the future. And TIFIA is a powerful tool that helps us do just that. TIFIA’s flexible terms and low interest rates make it possible to obtain financing for critical projects that otherwise would have been delayed or deferred because of their size and complexity. 

This includes projects like the recently closed SR 91 Corridor Improvement Project in Riverside, California. At the beginning of this month we provided a $421 million loan to this $1.3 billion project, which is expected to reduce traffic delays and create more than 16,000 new jobs.  And our loan will help the project secure the rest of the funding it needs.

Composite image of S.R. 91 project logo and a photo of an interchange on the corridor

In short, TIFIA helps us stretch Federal resources further in our pursuit of the kind of transportation improvements needed in communities across the nation.

The biggest news is that MAP-21, the transportation bill that the President signed into law last summer, expanded TIFIA funding from $122 million per year to $1 billion per year in Fiscal Year 2014. That's an eightfold increase. In a time of fiscal restraint, Congress still saw fit to boost TIFIA funding because every dollar from TIFIA leads to more than $30 of infrastructure investment.

What does that mean for improving our roads, rails, and ports? TIFIA will stimulate as much as $30 billion or more in infrastructure investment in Fiscal Year 2014 alone. That's the kind of efficiency Americans want--and deserve.

And that's why the demand for TIFIA support is high. In each of the last three years, we’ve received $12 billion to $15 billion in requests for TIFIA assistance. And this year is no different.  DOT has received a record $15.8 billion in requests to finance 31 projects across the country. 

So we've stepped up our game since MAP-21 went into effect, working harder than ever to put this money to use quickly and already committing more than $800 million to 18 projects. In total, we have 25 projects progressing through the TIFIA pipeline right now.

This year, we expect to obligate TIFIA funds for seven or more projects—a record number—and 2014 promises to be even busier.

So, please stay tuned to the Fast Lane to see TIFIA in action efficiently improving our nation's transportation system, creating jobs for hardworking Americans, and positioning U.S. businesses to compete more effectively in the global economy.

Anthony Foxx is the 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

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