Bill seeks to streamline transportation infrastructure funding

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WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia introduced legislation today to streamline funding for transportation infrastructure projects.

The bill is aimed at expediting applications for federal assistance under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act by raising the threshold for projects that require at least two credit-rating agency opinions from $75 million to $150 million. It also requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to publish status reports online for projects seeking TIFIA assistance.

“In a world where transportation needs consistently outpace available dollars, these loans unlock more transportation investments, which in turn pay off by improving daily life for Virginians,” Kaine said in a statement provided to Trains News Wire.

The TIFIA credit program helps finance surface transportation programs through direct loans, loan guarantees, or lines of credit. Recent funding has included $1.6 billion for the LA Metro Purple Line extension, $874 million for the Maryland Purple Line, and $255 million for new Chicago Transit Authority railcars.

“The TIFIA program is an invaluable tool for state and local governments to update their transportation infrastructure in a fiscally responsible way, but the current process can be arduous and lengthy,” Cornyn said. “This legislation includes commonsense changes to make the process faster, more accessible, and more transparent.”

The bill is named the Revitalizing American Priorities for Infrastructure Development, or RAPID Act.

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