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U.S. and Mexico Partner in the First Bi-National Border Finance Conference

Innovative Solutions to Challenges to Border Finance Projects
is the theme for the first-ever Border Finance Conference that will be hosted in San Antonio, Texas, on August 16-18, 2005. As the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has long supported the use of alternative project development and financing arrangements to advance critical border projects, this conference has developed from the emergent needs of State and local decision makers along the ten-state U.S./Mexico border region.

The partnership between the United States and Mexico has been a growing entity since 1994 when NAFTA stimulated the formation of the U.S./Mexico Joint Working Committee (JWC) to serve as a bi-national surface transportation workgroup that improves the planning, financing, coordination, and development of critically needed border projects designed to facilitate the safe and secure movement of goods and people between the United States and Mexico. Eleven years after its inception and under the direction of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and Mexico's Secretariat of Communication and Transportation, the JWC looks forward to this collaborative effort and collection of shared information and best practices for the entire region.

The Border Finance Conference will review and address strategic financing options to include the use of public-private partnerships, TIFIA credit, tax-exempt private activity bonds, the new SEP-15 process, and other financing approaches not typically found in the FHWA financing toolbox. The objectives of this conference will be to emphasize the importance of accelerating border projects to meet the FHWA's global connectivity goal, facilitate growing NAFTA commerce, and improve ties between the U.S. and Mexico consistent with President Bush's recently announced Security Prosperity Partnership initiative. Guests for this conference should expect to gain innovative tactics to the following:

  • Identifying and eliminating obstacles to advance "stalled" projects.

  • Emerging approaches for financing border projects, including public-private partnerships, government credit programs, multilateral agency credit programs, concession arrangements, and innovative revenues.

  • Public finance industry options for advancing projects, including bank credit, credit guarantees, and bonding.

  • Best practices and case studies for project planning and finance.

Though the financing tools and information exchanged at the conference will primarily provide pertinent information to the ten-state U.S./Mexico border region, the technical information and best practices are applicable to projects in other regions.

In addition to the general partnership between the FHWA and Mexico's Secretariat of Communication and Transportation, the FHWA's Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty along with the Finance Technical Service Team and Mexico's Toll Highway Unit make up the visionary leadership team for this event. Anticipated speakers at the Border Finance Conference include Governor Perry of Texas, Governor Richardson of New Mexico, and Governor Waltham of the Mexican State of Baja California. With an expected attendance of 150 to 200 participants, guests will range from the public and private sector to include Federal, State, and local governments, with concentrations in the finance and policy disciplines; border region interest and advocacy groups, such as the I-35 Corridor and Ports to Plains advocacy groups; bilateral and multilateral entities, such as the North American Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank, and the Interamerican Development Bank; the public finance sector including investment banks, bond rating agencies, bond insurers, law firms, and consulting firms; and the project development and construction sector.

A full conference agenda, hotel accommodations, and registration for the conference can be found by visiting the Border Finance Conference website.

To learn more about innovative financing tools utilized by the FHWA or this upcoming event, contact the FHWA Resource Center's Finance Technical Service Team.

For more information, contact:

Frederick Werner
Innovative Finance Specialist
FHWA Finance Technical Service Team
(404) 562-3680