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Thu May 30 2024

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US launches $17bn infrastructure stimulus

31 Jul 12 US transportation secretary Ray LaHood has launched a US$17bn (£10.8bn) expansion of infrastructure funding that could leverage up to US$50bn in investment.

He announced the availability of up to $17bn in loans for critical infrastructure projects across the country as a result of the recently enacted surface transportation bill.

States and cities across the country are 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 with the potential to create jobs and spur economic development and growth.

“Americans have always done big things – not in spite of hard times, but as a means of overcoming them,” said LaHood. “That’s why the Obama Administration is launching the largest infrastructure loan programme 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.”

The recently enacted surface transportation bill, known as MAP-21, provided US$1.7bn in capital over two years for the TIFIA credit assistance programme, up from US$120m in the 2012 financial year. Each dollar of federal funds can provide approximately US$10 in TIFIA credit assistance, meaning US$17bn in loans through TIFIA, which in turn can 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.

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A wide range of critical transportation projects are eligible for the funding, including everything from highway and passenger rail projects to public transit and international bridges and tunnels. TIFIA programmes are designed to be flexible, allowing many qualified, large-scale projects that might otherwise be delayed or shelved to move forward quickly.

To date, the TIFIA programme has used US$9.2bn in funding to leverage more than US$36.4bn in private and other capital to help build 27 major transportation projects around the country. In the past, TIFIA has supported signature projects including the Presidio Parkway project in California, which is replacing the structurally and seismically deficient access road to the Golden Gate Bridge.

In addition to announcing the availability of the expanded TIFIA funding, Secretary LaHood also announced the establishment of the Project Finance Center (PFC) to help state and local government project sponsors analsze financial options for highway, transit, rail, intermodal and other surface transportation projects facing funding challenges. 

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