Statement of Senator Barbara Boxer
Full Committee Hearing: "Oversight Hearing on Implementation of
MAP-21's TIFIA Program Enhancements"
July 24, 2013
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)

We are here to conduct oversight of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which we greatly expanded in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

TIFIA is supported by groups ranging from the U.S. Conference of Mayors to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO. The TIFIA program provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit to surface transportation projects at favorable terms.

MAP-21 builds on the already-successful TIFIA program by expanding it nearly ten-fold -- from around $100 million a year to $750 million in fiscal year 2013 and $1 billion in fiscal year 2014.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), every dollar made available through TIFIA can mobilize up to a total of $30 in transportation investments. The additional funding for TIFIA in MAP-21 (including leveraging) will support approximately 1 million jobs.

Since its creation, the TIFIA program has provided over $11 billion in credit assistance to 34 projects, totaling over $43 billion. However, in recent years, the number of applications for TIFIA assistance has greatly exceeded available funding.

For example, in fiscal year 2011, the FHWA received requests for approximately $14 billion in credit assistance for projects totaling over $48 billion in infrastructure investment. Before passage of MAP-21, the TIFIA program could support less than a tenth of that demand.

The newly-expanded TIFIA program is experiencing incredible demand from cities and states. According to the FHWA, 31 projects totaling over $42 billion are seeking assistance under the TIFIA program.

States and cities are stepping up to the plate to provide local transportation funding to accelerate projects through TIFIA. The 30/10 initiative in Los Angeles County is an example of how the program can successfully leverage local investments in transportation. This innovative approach, which evolved into the America Fast Forward initiative when Mayor Villaraigosa took 30/10 to the national level, can be replicated all across the country.

In 2008, the citizens of Los Angeles County approved a half cent sales tax dedicated to transportation, which will generate an estimated $40 billion over the next 30 years, including approximately $13 billion for transit projects throughout the county. By utilizing TIFIA, Los Angeles can speed up delivery of the transit projects over 10 years rather than 30 years.

With the greatly increased resources that Congress provided in MAP-21, it is critical that TIFIA funds be used efficiently, effectively, and responsibly. It is vitally important that DOT works swiftly to ensure that the TIFIA program achieves the kind of transformative results we all want to see moving forward.

Today, Secretary Foxx will testify about how DOT is implementing the changes to TIFIA that were included in MAP-21 and what steps the department is taking to ensure that the funding is being used in a way that stretches our resources effectively.

On our second panel, transportation experts and stakeholders will share their impressions of the improved and expanded TIFIA program and discuss the opportunities the program creates across the country.

I look forward to hearing testimony from all of our witnesses.