MAYORS VILLARAIGOSA AND SMITH, CONGRESSIONAL CHAIRMEN BOXER AND MICA, U.S. CHAMBER, AFL-CIO SUPPORT COMMON GOAL: CREATE JOBS FASTER WITH INNOVATIVE TRANSPORTATION FINANCING TOOLS
More than 100 Mayors Push New National Initiative, America Fast Forward, TIFIA Expansion to Create Nearly One Million Jobs Nationwide
WASHINGTON, DC – Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles, CA), Scott Smith (Mesa, AZ), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL), U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called today for innovative federal financing tools to rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure and create jobs now. America Fast Forward, a new national initiative backed by 104 mayors, would expand the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).
“As mayors of major economic hubs throughout the country, we have put together the construction projects and the dollars to pay for them – over time. But time is of the essence now, when early construction of these projects can be done at a much lower cost and result in the immediate infusion of higher paying jobs into our local economies,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “Innovative financing tools - like the ones we are proposing in America Fast Forward - will help us create jobs now, empower our local communities and finance transportation projects in a way that does not add to the nation’s debt problems.”
America Fast Forward is a national plan centered on leveraging TIFIA funds to allow private industry to access capital quicker and create jobs now without adding to the nation’s debt problems.
The plan calls for increasing the annual TIFIA funding; increasing the maximum percentage of the funding allotment that TIFIA can finance; permitting the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to approve multiple related projects at the same time; allowing USDOT to grant up-front credits to projects; and authorizing USDOT to lock-in interest rates for approved projects.
“Investment in infrastructure will build economic prosperity in the long-term and provide jobs for Americans in the short-term," said Mayor Smith. "This program will create a new relationship between Washington and local governments that will facilitate large-scale private investment in major infrastructure projects.”
The TIFIA program provides Federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit to finance surface transportation projects of national and regional significance. TIFIA credit assistance provides improved access to capital markets, flexible repayment terms, and potentially more favorable interest rates than can be found in private capital markets for similar instruments. TIFIA can help advance qualified, large-scale projects that otherwise might be delayed or deferred because of size, complexity, or uncertainty over the timing of revenues. Many surface transportation projects - highway, transit, railroad, intermodal freight, and port access - are eligible for assistance. Each dollar of Federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance - and leverage $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.
"Helping states and local governments make transportation investments will create jobs, reduce pollution, and ease traffic congestion across the nation," said Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "As Congress moves forward with a surface transportation bill this year, we need to look at ways to leverage federal funding. America Fast Forward is a model for the nation, and it is the kind of initiative that I believe the House and Senate can work together on."
Chairmen Boxer and Mica have held a series of hearings on the transportation reauthorization bill and calling for an increase in funding for innovative transportation financing programs like TIFIA.
“It is critical that we do more with less and maximize the impact of our limited resources in a six-year transportation bill,” Chairman Mica said. "The Transportation Committee is seeking innovative financing tools that will be vital to building our infrastructure and creating jobs in the most cost effective manner possible.”
If implemented, America Fast Forward - a jobs and transportation plan - would create nearly one million private sector jobs, produce $158 billion in economic output, and generate $51 billion in worker income nationwide.
“To be competitive in the global economy, the U.S. needs to increase investment in transportation infrastructure,” said Donohue. “There are hundreds of billions of dollars in private capital available for investment in infrastructure projects. TIFIA, as part of a well-funded, multi-year highway and transit bill, will help attract capital to highway, transit, intermodal, rail, and port access projects by being a source of patient, long-term lending. By leveraging public and private investments, we can create jobs in the near term and the long run. And the bang for the budgetary buck is tremendous: one dollar in federal resources leverages $10 in investment, and $30 when other sources of funding and financing are added.”
“All across the country business and labor agree, we must invest in our future," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "What our workers, communities, and business need is leadership here in Washington to partner with our communities. And that's what America Fast Forward is all about.”
Mayor's Press Contact: Sarah Hamilton 213-978-0741