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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

TIFIA loan demand 'overwhelming,' LaHood says

Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced his department received 26 letters of interest worth $13 billion in Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans, “greatly exceeding” the dollars available in the program.

The demand for TIFIA financing underscores the need for greater investment in transportation, as President Obama recommended in his fiscal-year 2013 budget proposal earlier this week, LaHood said in a prepared statement.

“The tremendous demand for TIFIA loans shows how much communities across America want to upgrade their roads, transit and rail,” he said. “We have critical transportation work that needs to be done and Americans who are ready to do the work.”

The high number of applicants for TIFIA credit assistance in response to a notice of funding availability for 2012 followed a trend in recent years of overwhelming demand for the program, LaHood said. The value of requests totaled more than $12 billion in 2010 and more than $14 billion in 2011. In light of the increasing demand for the loans, Obama’s FY2013 budget proposed increasing the program’s funding level to $500 million, which will leverage into approximately $5 billion in loans.

Meanwhile, LaHood and the Federal Transit Administration continued yesterday to reveal transit projects that are recommended for inclusion in the president’s budget proposal.

The recommended funding includes $346.7 million to start construction for five rail and bus rapid transit projects in California; $119.4 million to initiate construction for up to two rail and bus rapid transit projects in Oregon; and $70 million to expand the LYNX Blue Line in Charlotte, N.C.

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More News from 2/16/2012