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117th Congress

1. Transportation Reauthorization Bill. Include robust passenger rail funding with a Northeast Corridor-specific program in the transportation reauthorization bill.


2. State of Good Repair. Direct the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to interpret Federal-State Partnership State of Good Repair (SOGR) grant program to support the expenses of designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, environmental studies, and acquiring rights-of-way of a capital project.

3. Build America Bonds. Reinvigorate Build America Bonds (BAB). BABs were featured in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and allow access to a deeper capital market, which in turn makes it possible for more projects to proceed. Additionally, advance a new Tax Credit Bond/Q-Bond program similar to ARRA Build America Bond program to encourage investment and reduce agency financing costs.


4. Private Activity Bond Caps. Eliminate the $15 billion cap on Department of Transportation (DOT) Private Activity Bonds (PAB).


5. Credit Subsidy for RRIF Loans. Make DOT pay the credit subsidy on Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans as it currently does for Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans.


6. TIFIA and RRIF Low-Interest Financing. Expand funding for TIFIA and RRIF to allow for low-interest financing of 49% of project costs (allowed, but almost never done).

7. P3. Promote the use of P3 contracts as an option to bring increased capital funding for rail and transit projects, especially important now as many Owners/Agencies are suffering reduced revenues. One specific measure: allow federal funds to be used early in the project development stage to support technical, legal, and financial advisory support services necessary to advance P3 type procurements.


8. ROW Acquisition. Allow right-of-way (ROW) acquisition to commence before the EIS Record of Decision (ROD) for rail projects, as is currently allowed on highway projects. ROW acquisition is a leading cause of project delays, and should be started earlier in the project development to reduce cost and schedule risk.


9. Streamline NEPA. Continue efforts to streamline the NEPA review process while maintaining the integrity of the process.


10. Stimulus Package Investments in Infrastructure. Enact a stimulus package and investments in infrastructure that incorporates lessons learned from ARRA (e.g. limiting projects to “shovel ready” is an unnecessary constraint). Stimulus potential project worthiness should be broadened to recognize the life cycle from planning through construction, and categories of “shovel worthy” should also be considered.

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