By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA
The Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee July 11 heard from a variety of experts about the benefits of both the Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (WIFIA) programs to assist states and localities in financing projects that may not otherwise move forward. The TIFIA and WIFIA programs provide credit assistance such as direct loans and loan-guarantees to projects of regional or national significance.
EPW Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) noted at the opening of the hearing, “Maintenance shortfalls and project backlogs have left many key elements of our transportation and water infrastructure in need of major repair or replacement. As a result, major infrastructure improvements are needed across the country to build, maintain, or replace these vital systems.”
Barrasso added that federal lending programs, like TIFIA and WIFIA, can allow expensive projects to move forward in a timely manner and at less cost while providing the type of dramatic leveraging of limited federal resources that President Trump has advocated.
Delaware Department of Transportation Assistant Director of Finance Brian Motyl described how his state used a TIFIA loan to advance a project to alleviate a bottleneck on U.S. 301 in his state. “The US301 project could not have moved forward without TIFIA financing,” Motyl conclude
This was the seventh hearing the EPW Committee has held this year on improving the nation’s highway and water infrastructure networks. ARTBA’s 30th Annual Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation Conference will begin July 18 in Washington, D.C.