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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Contact: Doug Hecox, 202-366-0660
FHWA 10-04

DOT Announces New Initiative for Loan and Credit Programs

The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the establishment of a department-wide Credit Council to enhance oversight and management of the Department's direct loan and loan guarantee programs that are administered by the Maritime Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

Currently, there is approximately a total of $7.5 billion in outstanding loans and guarantees (including pending commitments) for the Department's four credit programs.

“The creation of the DOT Credit Council will offer a fully coordinated and integrated review of incoming applications and current loan portfolios by standardizing the Department's oversight review process,” said Linda Combs, Assistant Secretary of Budget and Programs/CFO.

The DOT Credit Council will meet quarterly and is modeled after the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Credit Council that will now be combined into the department-wide Council.

In addition to the Federal Highways' TIFIA program, the Maritime Administration's Title XI Loan Guarantee Program, Federal Railroad Administration's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing, and Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization's Minority Business Resource Center Short-term Lending program will greatly benefit from the Credit Council's emphasis on solid financial analysis and review.

“As we continue to build a transportation infrastructure and transportation assets that keep our economy moving, it is critical that we act on proven principals of financial management to assure both taxpayers and users of the Department's direct loan and loan guarantee programs that we are protecting the integrity and management of these programs,” said Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. “The DOT Credit Council achieves this important need.”

The establishment of the DOT Credit Council will lead to a more expedient and streamlined application review process while retaining autonomy within each operating administration. Applications for TIFIA credit assistance will continue to be submitted to the TIFIA Joint Program Office. Decisions to approve or disapprove an application will continue to reside with Secretary Mineta.

“The FHWA has had great success in protecting the public's critical infrastructure investment with this model," said FHWA Administrator Mary E. Peters. “Ensuring efficient and expeditious application reviews through a credit council isn't just good government - it is good business.”

The DOT Credit Council is comprised of the Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs/CFO, who serves as chair, Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, General Council, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, Federal Highway Administrator, Federal Transit Administrator, Federal Railroad Administrator, Maritime Administrator, and Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

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