The federal fiscal 2011 budget compromise authorized a third round of stimulus spending on transportation capital projects, dubbed TIGER III, under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program. $527 million will become available from the U.S. Department of Transportation for selected projects.
Of this amount, up to $150 million will be slated for direct loans and other credit assistance on terms similar to the TIFIA program. This more than doubles up on the $122 million TIFIA budget authority for the 2011 fiscal year.
What we are interested in seeing is whether the USDOT will actually approve credit assistance up to the full $150 million in budget authority assuming they receive enough requests for TIGER TIFIA payments. TIGER I, part of ARRA, authorized $200 million in supplemental TIFIA budgetary authority but the USDOT only awarded five TIGER TIFIA projects using $60 million. TIGER II had a similar outcome. In 2010, Congress authorized $600 million in TIGER II discretionary grants, $150 million of which could be used to subsidize TIFIA credit assistance. Over 1,000 applications were submitted for over $19 billion in projects. USDOT awarded 42 capital construction and 33 planning projects worth nearly $600 million. These included only one TIFIA financing, a $20 million award to LA Metro as a TIGER II TIFIA subsidy.
Numerous sources are urging significant expansion of the TIFIA program as part of the federal transportation reauthorization bills, and committee chairs Boxer and Mica are on record supporting a large increase in TIFIA budget authority. Let’s hope this augers well for use of the full $150 million. Current demand for TIFIA credit assistance, at least based on the latest list of LOI’s, clearly supports full use. By the way, word from FHWA is that decisions on the LOIs are expected in the near future. Those not selected will be lining up for TIGER TIFIA – Round III.
In nearly 40 years with the Firm, Fred Kessler has gained national recognition as a guiding force for public agencies in the field of transportation public-private partnerships (P3s). Clients benefit from his vast experience with ...
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