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U.S. Department of Transportation Issues New Guidance for Transit-Oriented Development Projects Seeking Loans Through the Build America Bureau

Friday, May 21, 2021

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced today that the Department is issuing new guidance that clarifies the eligibility of transit-oriented development (TOD) projects for specific Department resources. The USDOT’s Build America Bureau (Bureau) developed this guidance for public and private entities seeking loans for transit oriented development projects through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs. 
 
TOD centers economic development around transit, rail, and intercity bus facilities — to create walkable residential and commercial centers. Community-focused investments like TOD are integral to the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities, including connecting communities and reducing the climate impacts of transportation. The guidance released today is intended to help project sponsors understand the parameters for TOD projects to qualify for financing under the TIFIA and RRIF loan programs.

“When people can move safely and easily by public transit, foot, bike, wheelchair, or any other means, it can transform a community and improve the lives of those who call it home. Today’s announcement will help communities use transit-oriented development to save residents time and money, reduce pollution and carbon emissions, and make jobs accessible to more people,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“Integrating land use and transportation planning is central to USDOT’s efforts to meet the ambitious goals set by this administration. Making our credit programs accessible for TOD projects is a critical piece for our approach to tackling the climate crisis and promoting social equity through transportation,” said Christopher Coes, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy.

“Public-private partnerships play an important role in delivering infrastructure projects that support community development, and we look forward to working with local governments and their partners on TOD projects” said Morteza Farajian, Executive Director of the Build America Bureau. 

Congress, under the FAST Act, determined that TIFIA and RRIF financing could support TOD projects, but the Department had not set clear eligibility guidelines, which became a barrier to using these funds for that purpose. This new guidance opens the door to project sponsors interested in pursuing transit oriented development in keeping with the Biden-Harris Administration's priorities. 

This follows on the Department’s actions in April, when the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $10 million in grants for TOD projects.

The Bureau is USDOT’s “one-stop shop” for innovative finance, including administering the TIFIA and RRIF programs and providing technical assistance for agencies interested in innovative finance. The Bureau has financed scores of projects and enabled billions of dollars of investment to improve the safety and connectivity of the national transportation system. There is nearly $100 billion of lending capacity available through the TIFIA and RRIF programs.

View the new transit oriented development guidelines here: https://www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/about/resources-mode/transit-oriented-development


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