US$ 17 billion for US transport projects
By Helen Wright30 July 2012
US transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said potential loans of up to US$ 17 billion for infrastructure projects across the country could be approved thanks to the recently enacted Surface Transportation Bill.
The Surface Transportation Bill will provide US$ 1.7 billion over two years for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) credit assistance programme, up from US$ 120 million for 2012.
TIFIA aims to leverage these federal funds by attracting private and other non-federal investment for infrastructure projects. Each dollar of federal funds is said to be able to provide approximately US$ 10 in TIFIA credit assistance, resulting in the total of US$ 17 billion in TIFIA funds for federal loans.
Mr LaHood said this US$ 17 billion could in turn leverage between US$ 20 billion and US$ 30 billion in transportation infrastructure investment. Altogether, he said the expanded federal loan programme could result in up to US$ 50 billion in federal, state, local and private sector investment for transportation projects across the country.
To date, the TIFIA program has used US$ 9.2 billion in funding to leverage more than US$ 36.4 billion in private and other capital to help build 27 major transportation projects around the country.
US states and cities must now submit letters of interest to the TIFIA programme, which will distribute loans to major infrastructure projects.
Mr LaHood said this loan programme was the largest in US 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," he added.