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Program Assessment


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Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation

The program's purpose is to finance transportation projects of national or regional significance by filling market gaps and leveraging substantial non-Federal and private co-investment. The program issues loans for eligible highway, transit, rail, and intermodal freight projects.


What This Rating Means


This rating describes a program that needs to set more ambitious goals, achieve better results, improve accountability or strengthen its management practices.
  • TIFIA helps fill a specific market niche by financing large user-fee funded start-up transportation infrastructure projects, such as new toll roads. These types of projects often lack access to private capital because of their size, complexity, and risk. For example, 0.2 percent of revenue bonds issued in 2005 for all sectors including transportation were rated below investor grade.
  • TIFIA's open-ended guidelines do not necessarily ensure it provides the most cost-efficient financing options. The program allows borrowers to take out direct loans, guaranteed loans, or lines of credit. DOT lacks criteria for determining the preferred type of instrument, although Federal policy holds that it would generally be less costly for the government to guarantee loans.
  • The program's design does not ensure the promotion of private investment in transportation infrastructure or stipulate that TIFIA assistance addresses a market failure. TIFIA does not require a minimum level of private investment for individual projects, and it has not explicitly targeted assistance at projects lacking access to private capital.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Developing loan approval criteria to ensure that loan applicants take full advantage of private sector financing opportunities.
  • Implementing strategy for encouraging borrowers to seek and private lenders to offer loans guaranteed by the TIFIA program.
  • Developing loan approval criteria ensuring that the TIFIA program targets projects that were not able access capital through other means.

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