The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, enacted on December 4, 2015, included substantive and procedural changes to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs. The Department, through the Build America Bureau which manages these programs, is working diligently to implement these changes. Many program websites, guidance documents, and regulations are being revised. During the transition, TIFIA and RRIF remain open for applications. Potential applicants interested in the programs should proceed under existing program guidance.
The TIFIA program provides credit assistance for qualified projects of regional and national significance. Many large-scale, surface transportation projects -- highway, transit, railroad, intermodal freight, and port access -- are eligible for assistance. Eligible applicants include state and local governments, transit agencies, railroad companies, special authorities, special districts, and private entities. The TIFIA credit program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial private co-investment by providing supplemental and subordinate capital. Each dollar of federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.
Under this program, the FRA Administrator is authorized to provide direct loans and loan guarantees up to $35.0 billion to finance development of railroad infrastructure. Up to $7.0 billion is reserved for projects benefiting freight railroads other than Class I carriers. Direct loans can fund up to 100% of a railroad project with repayment periods of up to 35 years and interest rates equal to the cost of borrowing to the government. Eligible borrowers include railroads, state and local governments, government-sponsored authorities and corporations, joint ventures that include at least one railroad, and limited option freight shippers who intend to construct a new rail connection.