Following closely upon our March report, we bring you the sixth edition of the TIFIA Times, your e-mail newsletter concerning the US Department of Transportation's credit program for large-scale surface transportation projects. We encourage you to share this newsletter with your associates throughout the transportation finance community.
With an April 17 publication of a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), the USDOT has formally announced the availability of up to $2.6 billion in credit assistance for TIFIA project applications for the remainder of Federal Fiscal Year 2003. As reported in the last edition of the TIFIA Times, approximately $72 million in budget authority remains available to fund the subsidy costs of any requested credit assistance. The NOFA, as published in the Federal Register (68 FR, 19067), can be viewed at the Office of the Federal Register's Home page at: http://www.archives.gov.
Taking advantage of the current low interest rate environment, the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) will refund its TIFIA loan with tax-exempt debt. Closing of the refunding is scheduled for April 29, 2003. In keeping with the TIFIA objective of encouraging prepayments when feasible, this loan will be paid off 32 years earlier than its scheduled final maturity. The bonds issued to refund the TIFIA loan have an interest rate of 4.97%, or slightly more than 75 basis points lower than the interest rate on the TIFIA loan. Over the life of the bonds, the Authority expects to save $31.7 million on a present value basis. The USDOT and the PRHTA executed the $300 million loan agreement in August 2000. The loan proceeds funded a portion of the costs of the first phase of Tren Urbano, a $2.2 billion, 16-km. light rail system serving metropolitan San Juan. Construction is nearing completion, with commercial operations planned for October 2004..
The TIFIA office has recently completed a substantial update of its program guide and website. This newsletter, the new NOFA and the updated program guide and application can be found on the TIFIA website at the address listed above. The website is a valuable tool that contains information about the TIFIA program and projects, as well as the Report to Congress, completed in June 2002, that documents the overall performance of the program through its first five years.
The mailing address for the TIFIA Credit Program is:
Federal Highway Administration (HABF-50)
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20590
Please e-mail your comments or inquiries regarding this newsletter or the TIFIA program to: Duane.Callender@fhwa.dot.gov.
TIFIA Credit Program
US Dept. of Transportation