Louis J. Jenny | July 27, 2016
Last week I attended the opening of Build America Bureau at the U.S. Department of Transportation. This new bureau, a merging of several existing programs plus some new charges that grew out of last year’s FAST Act is intended to streamline DOT credit opportunities and grants, with a goal of achieving more speed and transparency. Also, of particular interest to DBIA, the Bureau will provide technical assistance and best practices in project planning, financing, delivery and monitoring.
At the ceremony, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox said, “The Build America Bureau will be a one-stop shop to help develop projects and provide financing in a single streamlined, effective and comprehensive manner.” “It will allow DOT to be responsive to America’s changing transportation needs and opportunities so we can deliver real, tangible infrastructure development for local, regional and national population centers.”
The new Bureau grows out of the Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC), which was created a few years ago as a one-stop shop for transportation owners, project sponsors and investors but brings in the following DOT programs:
• The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA),
• The Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF),
• Private Activity Bond (PABs),
• The new $800-million Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant program.
The need for the Bureau came out of some frustrations that the process as previously administered was overly complex and time-consuming. Further, with transportation projects becoming increasingly multi-modal, the existing credit and programs remained too siloed to be truly efficient.
A primary focus of the Bureau, and one reason DBIA is looking forward to being involved with its development on the ground floor, is educating project sponsors on innovative project delivery and public-private partnerships. So, with transportation being the fastest growing sector of design-build we look forward working with the Bureau and wish it success.
More information can be found here.