FTA will not count federal loans against CIG program projects

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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has released a letter rescinding a June 2018 “Dear Colleague” letter from the previous administration that said transportation advocates, such as Transportation for America, said they “added stringent requirements to the capital investment grants”.

As a reminder, the FTA under the Trump administration sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to transit agencies in June 2018 that communicated the administration’s view that federal loans would be considered part of on the federal part of a project of the CIG program and not on the local part.

At the time of the 2018 letter, FTA noted that the “process by which a project moves forward” through the CIG program “and FTA decides whether or not to enter into a construction grant agreement, is ultimately discretionary.”

The 2018 letter continued: “Given the competitive nature of this discretionary program, the law specifically urges the FTA to consider the extent to which the project has a local financial commitment that exceeds the required non-governmental share of the project cost. For this purpose, FTA views U.S. Department of Transportation loans in the context of all federal funding sources requested by the project proponent upon completion of the CIG assessment process, and not as separate from federal funding sources. federal. Strong local financial commitment and stable, reliable, and reliable non-federal sources of funding are necessary for projects to succeed under the CIG program. The FTA strongly encourages project developers to consider innovative financing and financing approaches, including value capture and private contributions.

The February 16, 2021 letter from FTA is short and states that it supersedes the June 2018 letter. capital at 49 CFR part 611) and IGC draft final guidance that was issued in June 2016.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4) called the Trump administration’s guidelines “garbage” and applauded the decision to rescind them as a way to “restore the idea that the federal government should be a partner and not an adversary”. …to communities pooling their own resources to try to launch much-needed infrastructure projects that move this country forward.

Sen. Bob Menendez (DN.J.) said “ill-conceived policy” was an obstacle to blocking the Gateway program, which has two projects in the CIG program; the Portal Bridge for which a A $766.5 million grant agreement was awarded in January 2021 and the Hudson Tunnel Project.

“Like a mortgage loan to buy a home, federal loans that must be repaid by states and other local entities applying for federal transportation grants have long been considered part of local financing,” said Senator Menendez. .

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