[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 105 (Wednesday, June 2, 1999)]
[Pages 29754-29755]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-13785]

Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 105 / Wednesday, June 2, 1999 / 

[[Page 29754]]


Federal Highway Administration
Federal Railroad Administration
Federal Transit Administration
Office of the Secretary

Fiscal Year 1999 Applications for TIFIA Credit Assistance

AGENCIES: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Railroad 
Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Office of 
the Secretary of Transportation (OST), U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of availability of funds inviting applications for 
credit assistance for major surface transportation projects.


SUMMARY: The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), 
Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, created the Transportation 
Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (TIFIA). The TIFIA, 
as amended by section 9007, Pub. L. 105-206, 112 Stat. 685, 849 and 
codified at 23 U.S.C. 181-189, authorizes the Department of 
Transportation (DOT) to provide credit assistance in the form of 
secured (direct) loans, lines of credit, and loan guarantees to public 
and private sponsors of eligible surface transportation projects. The 
TIFIA rule (49 CFR Part 80) provides specific guidance on the program 
requirements. Additionally, the DOT will make available a TIFIA program 
guide for more general information. Funding for this program is 
limited, and projects obtaining assistance will be evaluated and 
selected by the DOT on a competitive basis. Following selections, 
individual credit agreements will be developed through negotiations 
between the project sponsors and the DOT. The DOT has available 
$70,640,000 in budget authority in fiscal year 1999 to cover the 
subsidy costs of up to $1.6 billion in Federal credit assistance.

DEADLINES AND SUBMISSIONS: For consideration in the fiscal year 1999 
funding cycle, letters of interest must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. EDT 
on June 23, 1999. Formal applications may be submitted at any time 
after July 7, 1999. The deadline for receipt of the formal application 
(20 copies plus original) and the non-refundable $5,000 application 
initiation charge is 4:30 p.m. EDT on August 2, 1999. Applications 
received in the offices of the DOT after that date and time will not be 
considered. Applications sent to the DOT electronically or by facsimile 
will not be accepted. Both the letters of interest and completed 
applications should be submitted to the attention of Ms. Stephanie 
Kaufman, Office of Budget and Program Performance, Department of 
Transportation, Room 10105, B-10, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington 
D.C., 20590.

and Finance, Federal-Aid Financial Management Division, (202) 366-0673; 
FRA: Ms. JoAnne McGowan, Office of Passenger and Freight Services, 
Freight Program Division, (202) 493-6390; FTA: Mr. Paul Marx, Office of 
Policy Development, (202) 366-1734; OST: Ms. Stephanie Kaufman, Office 
of Budget and Program Performance, (202) 366-9649; Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, D.C., 20590. 
Hearing-and speech-impaired persons may use TTY by calling the Federal 
Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339. Additional information, 
including the TIFIA program guide and application materials, can be 
obtained from the TIFIA web site at http://tifia.fhwa.dot.gov.


Program Funding and Limitations on Assistance

    The TIFIA provides annual funding levels for both total credit 
amounts (i.e., the total principal amounts that may be disbursed in the 
form of direct loans, guaranteed loans, or lines of credit) and subsidy 
amounts (i.e., the amounts of budget authority available to cover the 
estimated present value of expected losses associated with the 
provision of credit instruments, net of any fee income). Funding for 
the subsidy amounts is provided in the form of budget authority funded 
from the Highway Trust Fund (other than the Mass Transit Account). For 
fiscal year 1999, the TIFIA authorizes $80 million in budget authority 
to fund the subsidy costs associated with a total nominal amount of 
direct loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit that is limited to 
$1.6 billion. Depending on the individual risk assessments made for 
each of the projects receiving assistance, the total amount of credit 
assistance provided in fiscal year 1999 may be less than the $1.6 
billion limitation.
    Total Federal credit assistance authorized for the TIFIA program is 
limited to $1.6 billion in fiscal year 1999; $1.8 billion in fiscal 
year 2000; $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2001; $2.4 billion in fiscal 
year 2002; and $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2003. These amounts lapse if 
not awarded by the end of the fiscal year for which they are provided.
    To support this assistance by funding the required subsidy amounts, 
the TIFIA provides budget authority of $80 million in fiscal year 1999; 
$90 million in fiscal year 2000; $110 million in fiscal year 2001; $120 
million in fiscal year 2002; and $130 million in fiscal year 2003. Of 
these amounts, the Secretary may use up to $2 million for each of the 
fiscal years for administrative expenses. Any budget authority not 
obligated in the fiscal year for which it is authorized remains 
available for obligation in subsequent years.
    The TIFIA budget authority is subject to an annual obligation 
limitation that may be established in appropriations law. Like the 
funding for certain other administrative or allocated programs (not 
apportioned to the States) that are subject to the annual Federal-aid 
obligation ceiling, the amount of TIFIA budget authority that is 
available to fund credit instruments in a given year may be less than 
the amount originally authorized for that year. The extent of any 
budget authority reduction will depend on the ratio of the obligation 
ceiling, which is determined annually in the appropriations process, to 
the contract authority for the Federal-aid highway program, which was 
established in TEA-21. For fiscal year 1999, this reduction was 11.7 
percent, which left $70,640,000 in TIFIA budget authority instead of 
the $80 million originally authorized. Future annual reductions of like 
amount would result in a cumulative amount of budget authority 
available in fiscal years 1999 through 2003 to fund TIFIA subsidy costs 
of about $470 million instead of the $530 million originally 
authorized. The credit amounts authorized in TIFIA are not subject to 
this annual reduction.
    The amount of credit assistance that may be provided to a project 
under TIFIA is limited to not more than 33 percent of eligible project 

Types of Credit Assistance Available

    The DOT may provide credit assistance in the form of secured 
(direct) loans, lines of credit, and loan guarantees. These types of 
credit assistance are defined in 23 U.S.C. 181 and 49 CFR 80.3.

Eligible Projects

    Highway, rail, transit, and ``intermodal'' projects may receive 
credit assistance under the TIFIA. See the definition of ``project'' in 
23 U.S.C. 181(9) and 49 CFR 80.3 for a description of eligible 

[[Page 29755]]

Threshold Criteria

    Certain threshold criteria must be met by projects seeking TIFIA 
assistance. These eligibility criteria are detailed in 23 U.S.C. 182(a) 
and 49 CFR 80.13.

Application and Selection Process

    Each applicant for TIFIA assistance will be required to submit a 
letter of interest and a formal application to the DOT in order to be 
considered for approval. The DOT anticipates that there will be fewer 
than ten applicants annually. The following describes the application 
    1. Letter of Interest. Initially, any applicant seeking assistance 
in fiscal year 1999 must submit a brief letter of interest to the DOT 
by June 23, 1999. The letter of interest should include a brief project 
description (including its purpose, basic design features, and 
estimated capital cost), basic information about the proposed financing 
for the project (including a summary of sources and uses of funds and 
the type and amount of credit assistance requested from the DOT), and a 
description of the proposed project participants. The letter of 
interest should not exceed five pages. A multi-agency DOT Credit 
Program Working Group will review this preliminary submission to ensure 
that the project meets the most basic requirements for participation in 
the TIFIA program. The Working Group will then designate a lead modal 
agency (FHWA, FRA, or FTA) for the project.
    2. Formal Application. Once approved for further review, the 
applicant will be notified by a representative from the designated 
modal agency of its eligibility to submit a formal application. The 
applicant must submit all required materials (generally described in 49 
CFR 80.7 and detailed in the TIFIA application) to the DOT by August 2, 
1999. The TIFIA application and additional program information may be 
obtained from the TIFIA web site at http://tifia.fhwa.dot.gov or 
through one of the program contacts listed in this notice.
    3. Sponsor Presentation. Each applicant that passes an initial 
screening of the formal application for completeness and satisfaction 
of the eligibility threshold criteria will be invited to make an oral 
presentation to the DOT on behalf of its project. The DOT plans to 
schedule presentations within two weeks of the application deadline, 
and will discuss the structure and content of the presentation with the 
applicant at the time of the invitation.
    4. Project Selection. Based on the formal application and oral 
presentation, the DOT shall evaluate each project's distinct public 
benefits and contribution to program goals according to each of the 
selection criteria described in 23 U.S.C. 182(b) and 49 CFR 80.15. The 
Secretary of Transportation plans to make final selections of projects 
within four to six weeks of the application deadline.


    For fiscal year 1999, the DOT will require each TIFIA applicant to 
pay an application initiation charge of $5,000. The project sponsor 
applying for TIFIA assistance must submit this payment by the 
application deadline August 2, 1999. There will be no credit processing 
charge for the fiscal year 1999 application and approval cycle. For 
each application and approval cycle in fiscal year 2000 and beyond, the 
DOT may adjust the amount of the application initiation charge and will 
determine the appropriate amount of the credit processing charge 
(established to equal a portion of the costs to the DOT of evaluating 
applications, selecting projects to receive assistance, and negotiating 
credit agreements) on the basis of its program implementation 
experience. The DOT will publish these amounts in each Federal Register 
solicitation for applications.
    Applicants shall not include application initiation or credit 
processing charges or any other expenses associated with the 
application process (such as charges associated with obtaining the 
required preliminary rating opinion letter) among eligible project 
costs for the purpose of calculating the maximum 33 percent credit 
    If there is insufficient budget authority to fund the credit 
instrument for a qualified project that has been selected to receive 
assistance under TIFIA, the DOT and the approved applicant may agree 
upon a supplemental charge to be paid by or on behalf of the approved 
applicant at the time of execution of a term sheet to reduce the 
subsidy cost of that project. No such charge may be included among 
eligible project costs for the purpose of calculating the maximum 33 
percent credit amount.

    Dated: May 25, 1999.
Rodney E. Slater,
Secretary, Department of Transportation.
[FR Doc. 99-13785 Filed 6-1-99; 8:45 am]