The Build America Bureau is the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) one-stop-shop for states, municipalities, and sponsors such as regional authorities who want to finance transportation infrastructure projects with low-interest, long-term loans, or public-private partnerships (P3). The Bureau markets credit assistance programs and private activity bonds. The Bureau assists with navigating federal permitting, regulatory, and procedural requirements for sponsors. The Bureau evaluates proposed projects’ creditworthiness, negotiates loan terms and conditions, and then recommends approval to the Department’s Council on Credit and Finance and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The Bureau administers the loan repayment process, monitoring borrower compliance with terms and conditions, engaging at-risk borrowers, and assuring the Department’s loan portfolio quality. The Bureau also provides technical assistance and encourages innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation. Its Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program has awarded $34.5 billion since its inception, and its Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program has awarded $7.1 billion. Just in fiscal year 2021, these two programs provided about $10 billion financing to eligible transportation projects.
- Pursuing expertise on project development, delivery, and financing best practices to understand how to access transportation infrastructure credit programs
- Applying for credit assistance for transportation infrastructure projects
Pursuing expertise on project development, delivery, and financing best practices to understand how to access transportation infrastructure credit programs
Customers, such as State or local government, or developers, seek information about best practices and Bureau programs and services to meet their infrastructure need or opportunity. The Bureau provides information through multiple channels and engages them in identifying and scoping opportunities to work together.
Why this service was designated
Anecdotal evidence indicated stakeholders perceived the Departmental loan programs were complicated, applying was expensive and time-consuming, and approval timing and terms were unpredictable. Critical to ensuring sufficient uptake by eligible applicants and success of Bureau program awardees is that project sponsors and potential borrowers have access to expertise on project development, delivery, and financing best practices.
Applying for credit assistance for transportation infrastructure projects
To use this service, customers complete an initial engagement phase. If the engagement moves forward, the customer works with a project development lead and other Department of Transportation staff to fulfill requirements to qualify for Federal assistance.
Currently, customers submit information to the Bureau through a secure, large file sharing portal. Bureau staff store information in electronic folders on either a shared drives, and communicate through email. A more end-to-end electronic portal would enable more transparent and efficient processing, record keeping, and information sharing with customers.
Why this service was designated
The quality of the customers’ experience during initial engagement will have an outsize influence on their perception of the Department. Examining the initial engagement process will help the Bureau understand whether it is addressing pain points expressed by customers and find opportunities to reduce burdens.