As indicated in the FHWA Major Project Deliverable Timeline (PDF), the Initial Financial Plan (IFP) of a project is prepared as early in the project development process as practical, which is usually when initial cost estimates for the project become available in the NEPA process. Submittal processes and requirements of the Financial Plan vary depending on the scale of and anticipated financial sources for the project, as further explained below.
For Major Projects, the recipient of the funding (usually the STA) is responsible for the submittal of the Initial Financial Plan to the FHWA Division Office for approval. The submittal should occur before the start of construction. Once the IFP is submitted and approved by the FHWA, the first authorization of Federal aid funding for mainline project construction may occur. For design-build projects, the IFP should be approved prior to FHWA concurrence in the award of the design-build process as indicated in the Federal Major Project Deliverable Timeline (PDF).
Financial Plans for Major Projects are updated annually, in accordance with the scheduled timing specified in the IFP, until construction of the project is completed. These annual updates must be submitted to FHWA for approval no later than 90 days after the effective date established in the IFP.
SAFETEA-LU also requires that projects with costs in the $100-$500 million dollar range have Financial Plans and Annual Updates prepared by the Project Owner. The content in the Financial Plans for such projects are expected to address the same five topics as Major Projects. However, Financial Plans for these $100-$500 projects have optional reporting formats (for those that represent multiple projects within the Project Owners' geographical area) that will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Financial plans for these projects do not require FHWA approval, but are subject to the agency's review.
The TIFIA program requires that the Project Owner submit, along with the loan application, a "Plan of Finance" that meets TIFIA requirements. Within a period of 60 to 90 days after the signing of the Secured Loan Agreement, the Project Owner is required to submit an updated Plan of Finance that meets FHWA Major Project requirements.
The FHWA Division Office approves all TIFIA-funded initial financial plan and annual update documents with the concurrence of the Joint Program Office (JPO) and FHWA Project Delivery Team.
In addition to annual financial plan updates, the Project Owner must also provide, at its own expense, ongoing credit surveillance reports from a nationally recognized credit rating agency throughout the life of the TIFIA debt. For further information on TIFIA project- specific requirements and submittal processes, please refer to the TIFIA Project Oversight and Credit Monitoring Guidelines.