Rep. Richardson Hopes to Expedite Infrastructure Improvement Projects
2011-03-21 · By Editor
Richardson Bill Would Expedite Major Transportation Projects by Providing Upfront Credit
On Friday, March 18, 2011, Congresswoman Laura Richardson (CA-37) introduced legislation that will help expedite some of the nation’s largest and most significant infrastructure improvement projects. The TIFIA Enhancement ACT expands current programs that advance credit opportunities and increases overall financial support for “mega public transportation” projects.
“With so many of our nation’s roadways, bridges and transportation systems crumbling, we need to make major investments in America’s infrastructure now,” said Congresswoman Richardson. “The TIFIA Enhancement Act will provide a much needed fix to the infrastructure development and improvement process by advancing the necessary credit and financial support to construction firms so they can get working and put shovels in the ground.”
Currently under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), credit assistance is available for firms to engage in major transportation construction projects in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit for up to 33% of eligible project costs. The TIFIA Enhancement Act proposed by Richardson will authorize the Department of Transportation to make advanced credit commitments to construction firms and increases eligible costs to 49%. Additionally, the bill will increase the available funds to support the program by $122 million to $375 million.
TIFIA would leverage Federal funds by attracting substantial private and other non-Federal co-investment in critical improvements to the nation’s surface transportation system. The proposed enhancements will help advance qualified, large-scale projects that otherwise might be delayed or deferred because of size, complexity, or uncertainty over the timing of revenues. Many surface transportation projects such as highway, transit, railroad, intermodal freight, and port access development are eligible for assistance and would be expedited with the availability appropriate credit instruments.
“California’s 37th, is home to some of the busiest freeways and railways in the nation and the TIFIA Provision will advance the L.A. Country Metro’s 30/10 Initiative, which would accelerate thirty years worth of transit projects in just ten years,” said Congresswoman Richardson. “Just last month, I joined House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica in field hearings in Fresno and Los Angeles, CA where we heard from a series of transportation stakeholders who expressed the need for this legislation. The TIFIA Enhancement Act answers the needs of construction companies and public and private entities who want to finish projects in this decade.”
In direct response to the concerns expressed in the hearings, the bill was amended to allow the DOT to lower interest rates, restructure loans to make them work better with existing financing agreements, and incentivize clean construction practices.
“The TIFIA Enhancement Act will ensure the completion of much needed infrastructure projects on time and maintain old roads and build new paths to keep our nation moving forward. It will create jobs, save money, grow our economy, and make it easier for our Americans and our products to move throughout the country.”