TIFIA Questions & Answers
Question 1: Did MAP-21 change the lending capacity of the TIFIA program?
Answer 1: Yes, MAP-21 expanded the TIFIA program's lending capacity. Under MAP-21, Congress authorized $1.75 billion in budget authority for the TIFIA program ($750 million in FY13 and $1 billion in FY14). Since we estimate that each dollar of budget authority can leverage approximately $10 in lending capacity, we expect that the Department will be able to offer an estimated $17 billion in TIFIA credit assistance based on the MAP-21 authorized funding level.
Question 2: Are different projects eligible for TIFIA under MAP-21?
Answer 2: Under MAP-21, TIFIA will still be able to provide credit assistance to surface transportation projects, including: projects eligible under chapter 53 of title 49 or title 23, including transit, highway and bridge projects; intercity passenger bus or rail projects; certain international bridges and tunnels; any intercity passenger bus or rail facilities and vehicles; certain public rail freight facilities or private rail freight facilities; and certain improvements necessary for direct intermodal interchange, transfer, and access into and out of ports with intermodal freight facilities. Also, MAP-21 clarifies that a program of projects secured by the same revenue stream may be considered an eligible project.
Question 3: Did MAP-21 change the types of project costs that TIFIA may finance?
Answer 3: No, MAP-21 did not change the definition of TIFIA eligible project costs. TIFIA may continue to finance development phase activities, construction costs, and necessary financing costs.
Question 4: How does MAP-21 address rural projects?
Answer 4: MAP-21 contains specific eligibility criteria for rural infrastructure projects. For instance, the minimum project cost for projects located outside of cities with more than 250,000 people was lowered from $50 million to $25 million. In addition, rural projects may be eligible for a reduced interest rate under MAP-21.
Question 5: Is the TIFIA program accepting letters of interest?
Answer 5: Yes, the TIFIA office is open for business and project sponsors may submit letters of interest. The Department published a notice of funding availability on July 31, 2012 implementing a rolling TIFIA application process and we are currently accepting letters of interest.
Question 6: Did MAP-21 change the TIFIA letter of interest process?
Answer 6: Yes, the TIFIA letter of interest process has been adjusted to reflect changes authorized in MAP-21. The Department will review TIFIA letters of interest to assess project eligibility, creditworthiness, and its inclusion in the TIP and STIP. Review of the project's creditworthiness will include a Departmental request for an indicative rating on the TIFIA loan and the financial plan for the project. Pending a successful outcome to this process and a determination that the project meets all statutory eligibility requirements, the project sponsor will be permitted to submit an application for TIFIA credit assistance.
Question 7: If TIFIA budget authority is uncommitted, will that funding be available in future years?
Answer 7: Under certain circumstances, a portion of uncommitted TIFIA budget authority will be redistributed to the States. On every April 1, beginning in 2014, the Department will redistribute uncommitted TIFIA funding that exceeds 75 percent of the authorized level for that fiscal year. However, any remaining uncommitted amounts at or under 75 percent of the authorized level will continue to be available in the following fiscal year.