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Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:58 AM

TIFIA Loans Likely Skewed Towards New Road Projects


from Transport Politic blog:


TIFIA Loans Likely Skewed Towards New Road Projects


In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama argued that federal transportation funding in the United States should follow a “fix-it-first” philosophy, where the rebuilding of roads and bridges (and presumably transit lines) with structural deficiencies is prioritized over the construction of new infrastructure. There is a lot to like about this idea: It would maximize the use of our existing resources, and it would ensure that the government isn’t sponsoring an expanded mobility infrastructure before our existing structures are up to date.

Everyone should be able to get behind this idea.

Yet the projects the Administration will begin financing through the TIFIA reduced-interest loan program are likely to take the opposite tact, for the most part supporting new construction over maintenance of the old. Of 28 projects that have submitted preliminary applications through the middle of last month for financing over the next two years, all but four are new construction or expansion of existing road, transit, or airport facilities. Moreover, road projects are likely to account for a large majority of infrastructure funded. Of the applications that have been received by the DOT, more than 70% are highway projects.

This is a troubling reflection of the state of federal transportation funding, for it suggests that there is still far too much funding going towards new roads construction, rather than renovations or public transportation infrastructure. It suggests that TIFIA — deemed an “innovative” federal infrastructure financing program — may simply replicate more of the same thinking about how to spend Washington’s money on transportation. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2013/02/13/tifia-loans-likely-skewed-towards-new-road-projects/



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