June 25, 2020
Innovation of the Month:
When communities form entities like CIDs, they also open doors to additional funding options through State-administered programs such as infrastructure banks. Infrastructure banks provide loans for eligible projects and typically offer at or below-market interest rates. Last week’s featured community improvement district, the Sugarloaf CID, received part of its funding from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB).
Thirty-three States have established State infrastructure banks (SIBs). Some of the State or local SIBs may have different eligibility requirements than Federal SIBs, which can be beneficial in cases where a project may not qualify for Transportation Investment Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) or Federal SIB loans.
The 33 SIBs hold more than $750 million in idle loan funds for eligible projects. Other benefits that SIBs may offer in addition to below-market interest rates include penalty-free prepayments, no fees for applications or handling charges, fixed rates set at time of application, and deferments. Loans for infrastructure banks can also be back loaded, which can fit well with Value Capture strategies that have a ramp-up period.
Finally, the flexibility of SIBs allows funding for projects that might not be able to secure traditional loans, and opens the possibility of borrowing against future Value Capture revenue–something which may not be available at traditional lending sources. Some infrastructure bank loans can even qualify as matching funds in many State and Federal programs.
Watch this spotlight video on Value Capture to learn more about this innovative program. To learn more about infrastructure banks or to see if one exists in your State, contact Stefan Natzke of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty or Thay Bishop of the FHWA Center for Innovative Finance Support.
MaineDOT Makes It Easier For Crews To Report Road Conditions
Maine DOT’s Road and Weather User Interface Design Process (Source: Maine Department of Transportation)
The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is making significant advances in monitoring road conditions using crowdsourced data. The state developed and is testing an app for its work crews to more easily and safely communicate weather and road conditions. Prior to the development of this app, crews had to radio operators in MaineDOT’s Traffic Management Center (TMC) to share information about icy roads or clear skies. This led to backlogs of reports during storms and reports that stayed active for too long.
All reported weather information is available through MaineDOT’s Compass Advanced Traffic Management System and on NewEngland511.org when poor driving conditions are reported. The app improves the temporal accuracy of road and weather data and allows the operators to pay more attention to incident identification and response during storms. The work crew app is now being expanded to include in-service and out-of-service reporting, and after learning about Utah DOT’s Citizen Reporter app, MaineDOT has interest in future development of similar functionality for citizen reporters to share road and weather conditions with the state.
2020 STIC Excellence Award Nominations Due July 1
Less than a week remains to make nominations for the 2020 STIC Excellence Awards, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration's Center for Accelerating Innovation (CAI) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Has your State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) made a significant impact toward fostering a strong culture for innovation? If so, please consider submitting a nomination.
Nominations are due to FHWA by July 1, 2020. Take this opportunity to nominate your STIC and share examples of how it is making a difference and the results of these efforts.
Every Day Counts, a State-based program of the Federal Highway Administration’s Center for Accelerating Innovation, works with State, local, and private sector partners to encourage the adoption of proven technologies and innovations to shorten and enhance project delivery.