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Background Reference

Also available for download in PDF or PPTX format.
(Updated March 2014)

TIFIA Credit Program Overview

TIFIA Transportation Infrastructure Finance logo

Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA)

Background on TIFIA

  • Strategic goal - to leverage limited Federal resources and stimulate private capital investment in transportation infrastructure by providing credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit (rather than grants) to projects of national or regional significance. On July 6, 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was signed into law, providing for substantial changes in the TIFIA credit program.
  • Key objectives
    • Facilitate projects with significant public benefits
    • Encourage new revenue streams and private participation
    • Fill capital market gaps for secondary/subordinate capital
    • Be a flexible, “patient” investor willing to take on investor concerns about investment horizon, liquidity, predictability and risk
    • Limit Federal exposure by relying on market discipline
  • Major requirements
    • Large surface transportation projects ($50M generally, $15M for intelligent transportation systems (ITS), $25M for rural infrastructure projects)
    • TIFIA loan amount has historically been less than 33 percent of eligible costs and DOT requests that applicants provide a rationale for TIFIA loan requests of up to 49 percent of costs (permitted by statute)
    • Senior debt must be rated investment grade by two rating agencies, unless project cost is less than $75M
    • Dedicated revenues for repayment
    • Applicable Federal requirements, including but not limited to Civil Rights, NEPA, Uniform Relocation, Titles 23 and 49
    • Public or private highway, transit, rail and port projects are eligible to apply for TIFIA assistance
  • Application process - applicants must submit detailed letters of interest so DOT can evaluate creditworthiness and other eligibility requirements and, after invitation from the TIFIA Joint Program Office (JPO), a formal application

Eligible TIFIA Applicants and Projects

Applicants Projects
State Governments
Private Firms
Special Authorities
Local Governments
Transportation Improvement Districts

Highways and Bridges
Intelligent Transportation Systems
Intermodal Connectors
Transit Vehicles and Facilities
Intercity Buses and Facilities
Freight Transfer Facilities
Passenger Rail Vehicles and Facilities
Rural Infrastructure Projects

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Creditworthiness:
    1. Ability to satisfy applicable creditworthiness standards
    2. Rate covenant, if applicable
    3. Adequate coverage requirements to ensure repayment
    4. Ability to obtain investment grade ratings on senior debt
  2. Foster partnerships that attract public and private investment for the project
  3. Ability to proceed at an earlier date or reduced lifecycle costs (including debt service costs)
  4. Reduces Contribution of Federal Grant Assistance for the Project
  5. Construction contracting process can commence no more than 90 days from execution of a TIFIA credit instrument

Program Implementation: Selection & Funding of a TIFIA Project

  1. Project Sponsor Submits Letter of Interest on a Rolling Basis
  2. If Requested by DOT, Project Sponsor Provides Additional Information, Preliminary Rating Opinion Letter and $100,000
  3. Upon Invitation, Project Sponsor Makes Oral Presentation to DOT
  4. Upon Invitation from DOT, Project Sponsor Submits Complete Application
  5. DOT Notifies Project Sponsor Regarding Completeness of Application No More Than 30 Days After Receiving Application
  6. DOT Staff Prepare Evaluation and Make Recommendation to DOT Credit Council
  7. DOT Credit Council Provides Recommendation to the Secretary, who Makes Final Determination
  8. DOT Notifies Project Sponsor Regarding Project Approval No More Than 60 Days After Delivery of Notice Regarding Application Completeness
  9. DOT Issues Term Sheet, Executes Credit Agreement, and Obligates Funds
  10. DOT Disburses Funds Upon Satisfaction of Conditions set forth in Credit Agreement

TIFIA Documentation Requirements

  • Major Requirements - Draft EIS circulated (or Categorical Exclusion of FONSI obtained)
  • Major Requirements - Project consistent with state transportation plan and, if applicable, included in metropolitan transportation plan
  • Applications, Approvals, and Funding - Letter of interest provided
  • Major Requirements - Preliminary rating opinion letter obtained
  • Major Requirements - $100,000 provided
  • Major Requirements - Oral presentation
  • Major Requirements - ROD obtained
  • Major Requirements - Project included in STIP
  • Applications, Approvals, and Funding - Project sponsor invited to submit application
  • Applications, Approvals, and Funding - Application submitted
  • Applications, Approvals, and Funding - Project selection made
  • Applications, Approvals, and Funding - Term sheet issued
  • Applications, Approvals, and Funding - Funding obligated
  • Major Requirements - Investment-grade rating on senior debt submitted prior to anticipated closing date
  • Applications, Approvals, and Funding - Credit agreement executed
  • Applications, Approvals, and Funding - Funds disbursed according to terms

TIFIA Program Fees

  • Project sponsors must reimburse DOT for the costs of the outside advisors who advise TIFIA on the transaction.
    • This transaction fee generally ranges from $300,000-$500,000.
    • A down payment towards the total transaction fee in the amount of $100,000 will be required before DOT initiates the creditworthiness review of a Letter of Interest
    • More complex projects may be required to pay larger amounts.
  • Borrowers must pay an annual Loan Servicing Fee, due by November 15, of approximately $12,000.
  • DOT may also charge a Monitoring Fee as defined in the credit agreement (to date this fee has not been charged).

TIFIA Approved Projects

TIFIA Projects & Project Profiles

TIFIA Portfolio

TIFIA Portfolio

TIFIA JPO Organizational Framework

JPO flow chart

A solid line connects the Secretary of Transportation to the DOT Credit Council, which consists of:

  • Deputy Secretary of Transportation (Chair)
  • Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs/CFO (Vice Chair)
  • Under Secretary of Transportation For Policy
  • General Counsel
  • Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy
  • Director of OSDBU
  • Federal Transit Administrator
  • Federal Highway Administrator
  • Federal Railroad Administrator
  • Maritime Administrator
  • 3 At-large Members

A solid line connects the DOT Credit Council to the Director of the Office of Innovative Program Delivery, with another solid line connecting the Director of the Office of Innovative Program Delivery to the TIFIA Joint Program Office. A dotted line also connects the Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs/CFO (Vice Chair) to the TIFIA Joint Program Office.