The FAST Act continues the Transport Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which provides federal credit assistance to eligible land transportation projects, including highway, transit, intercity passenger transportation, certain types of freight railways, intermodal freight facilities and certain modifications within a port terminal. We expect the demand for TIFIA credit assistance to remain high, particularly given the more attractive features of the TIFIA program. We are concerned that the combination of the increase in coverage from 33% to 49%, the considerable simplification of eligibility criteria, the removal of the FHWA`s assessment authority, the ongoing application process, the availability of master credit contracts to obtain early-stage commitments and the requirement for fair eligibility for projects will lead to a race for early application. Public proponents of major transportation development projects need to develop proactive strategies in a timely manner to be able to use the new TIFIA program. Several TIFIA-eligible related projects can be grouped together to meet one of these cost thresholds as long as project credit assistance is provided by a joint commitment. It is also possible to use TIFIA to refinance a previous TIFIA intermediate loan or to refinance existing debts to provide additional financing capacity for TIFIA-eligible projects. The FAST Act does not amend the provisions of the federal act on the actions of TIFIA. As a result, TIFIA`s credit assistance may continue to cover the following elements of the total cost of an eligible project: TIFIA provides credit assistance for qualified projects of regional and national importance. Several TIFIA-eligible related projects can be grouped together to meet one of these cost thresholds as long as project credit assistance is provided by a joint commitment. [23 U.S.C 601 (a) (12) (D) (iv)] In addition to direct funding for the TIFIA program, the FAST Act authorizes the use of other specified sources of funding to cover the grant and management costs associated with TIFIA credit assistance (including the fees and expenses of DOT`s external consultants who have been suspended as part of the evaluation and negotiation of the terms of the TIFIA credit assistance for a project).
These sources are – The TIFIA program provides federal credit assistance for eligible land transportation projects, including highways, transit, local passenger transportation, certain types of freight railways and intermodal freight infrastructure. The objective of the program is to fill market gaps and use large private co-investments by providing additional or project-contingent debts. The FAST Act pursues the power of “master credit contracts” under which DOT can make a conditional commitment using TIFIA`s future credit for a related project program, guaranteed by a common security promise, or for a single project that does not provide for a current commitment of federal funds.