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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

LaHood announces expansion of transportation project finance fund

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced the availability of up to $17 billion in loans for critical infrastructure projects as a result of the new surface transportation law.

He encouraged cities and states to submit letters of interest to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (TIFIA) program, which provides direct loan guarantees and standby lines of credit to major infrastructure projects that have the potential to create jobs and spur economic development.

LaHood described the assistance as “the largest transportation infrastructure loan program” in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

“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,” he said in a prepared statement.

The recently enacted law, known by the acronym MAP-21, provides $1.7 billion in capital over two years for TIFIA credit assistance program, up from $120 million in FY2012. Each dollar of federal funds can provide approximately $10 in TIFIA credit assistance, meaning $17 billion in loans through TIFIA can leverage $20 billion to $30 billion in transportation infrastructure investments, according to LaHood.

A range of projects are eligible for funding, including those involving passenger rail and public transit.

To date, the TIFIA program has used $9.2 billion in funding to leverage more than $36.4 billion in private and other capital to help advance 27 major transportation projects, according to the USDOT.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/30/2012