USDOT creates 'Build America Bureau' to streamline financing for infrastructure projects
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has established the Build America Bureau, which is aimed at streamlining credit and grant opportunities, and providing technical assistance for transportation projects. The new bureau will serve as a "one-stop shop" for developing projects and providing financing in an "effective and comprehensive manner," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press release. "It will allow DOT to be responsive to America's changing transportation needs and opportunities, so we can deliver real, tangible infrastructure development for local, regional, and national population centers," he said. The bureau combines the following USDOT funding programs: the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans, the private activity bond, the Build America Transportation Investment Center, and the new $800 million Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant program. The Build America Bureau's outreach and development team will work with project sponsors to provide support on how they can best combine USDOT credit, funding and project delivery approaches such as the public-private partnership model. The team then can provide technical assistance for the projects. The USDOT's credit team will be able to underwrite loans from multiple sources together, so that projects no longer receive a TIFIA loan or an RRIF loan. Instead, they'll obtain a single-credit package from the USDOT to help planners build the needed infrastructure. In addition, the Build America Bureau will manage the application and evaluation process for the FASTLANE grant program, which funds projects that address key challenges affecting the movement of freight and people.