TIFIA Amount Increases & Eligibility Expands - Too Much?

In the coming days readers will learn more about America's new transportation funding plan MAP-21, which will guide surface transportation planning through 2014. In this piece, Tanya Snyder centers on changes to the popular TIFIA lending program.
July 5, 2012, 6am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Streetsblog's Capitol Hill editor, Tanya Snyder, provides the update on the changes made to a popular lending program run by the Dept. of Transportation included in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or MAP-21.

"The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program has, since 1998, provided federal credit assistance at favorable interest rates to surface transportation projects of national and regional significance."

On the plus side, the program funding increased 720% to $1 billion. The downside is that it has been made "completely useless as an instrument to reward and enable innovation", i. e, "any old highway plan will do", writes Snyder.

"The bill eliminated all project selection criteria from the TIFIA program. It's now first-come-first-served."

"By removing those selection criteria, they've basically turned the federal government into a bank," said Sarah Kline, director of policy for Reconnecting America, "instead of an entity with national policy in mind."

Snyder lists the 8 criteria that had been used to evaluate applications. "Under the new bill, creditworthiness now accounts for pretty much the full 100 percent."

Thanks to Streetsblog New York City

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Published on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 in Steetsblog Capitol Hill
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