Local TIFIA Proposals Move Forward
Two local proposals for assistance through the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program have advanced. On June 13, 2013, the City of Chicago announced it had closed a $99 million TIFIA loan to complete the Chicago Riverwalk project located along the main branch of the Chicago River downtown. Also on June 13, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) invited the Chicago Department of Aviation to apply for a $292 million TIFIA loan in support of the new Consolidated Rental Car Facility and Airport Transit System extension at O'Hare International Airport.
Both the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Aviation submitted letters of interest for TIFIA support in September 2012. According to news reports earlier this year, the Riverwalk loan will be repaid primarily through higher fees levied on boat tour operators using the Chicago River, along with advertising revenues and retail concessions. As described in a previous Policy Update, the O'Hare project loan would be repaid through passenger facility charges, an $8-per-day fee levied since 2010 on car rentals out of O'Hare.
The TIFIA program provides low-interest, flexible financing options to major transportation projects via direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the current federal transportation authorization law, authorized $750 million for the TIFIA program in FY 2013 and $1 billion in FY 2014, subject to annual obligation limitations. In addition to substantially increasing federal resources for the TIFIA program, MAP-21 also implements several reforms to the program. Notably, MAP-21 increased the proportion of project costs that TIFIA is permitted to fund through loans from 33 percent to 49 percent and converted the program from a fixed-date to a rolling application process.
GO TO 2040 supports the use of innovative strategies to finance transportation investments. Congestion pricing, parking management, value capture, and public-private partnerships, along with the thoughtful application of loan programs such as TIFIA, can play an integral role in closing funding gaps and moving individual projects forward. However, GO TO 2040 recognizes the need for broad-based, sustainable transportation revenues. CMAP's adopted principles for a new state capital program and federal transportation reauthorization further define the agency's stance on transportation funding.