The Build America Bureau (the "Bureau") is responsible for driving transportation infrastructure development projects in the United States. The Bureau streamlines credit opportunities and grants and provides access to the credit and grant programs with more speed and transparency, while also providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and monitoring. To achieve this vision, the Bureau draws upon the full resources of U.S. DOT to best utilize the expertise of all the modes within the Department while promoting a culture of innovation and customer service.
The Bureau builds upon the foundation established by the Build America Transportation Investment Center ("BATIC"). The Bureau serves as the single point of contact and coordination for states, municipalities, and project sponsors looking to utilize federal transportation expertise; apply for federal transportation credit programs; and explore ways to access private capital in public private partnerships.
The Bureau combines the Bureau, TIFIA and RRIF loan programs, Private Activity Bonds (PABs), and the new $800 million FASTLANE grant program all under one roof within the Office of the Undersecretary for Transportation for Policy.
The Bureau serves as the single point of contact and coordination for states, municipalities and project sponsors looking to utilize federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation credit programs and explore ways to access private capital in public private partnerships.
The Bureau addresses the procedural, permitting and financial barriers to increased infrastructure investment and development by:
- Intervening earlier in project lifecycles,
- Actively helping sponsors navigate and accelerate the often complex federal permitting and procedural requirements,
- Centralizing project coordination and
- Cultivating public private partnerships
The Bureau drives efficiencies and creates further financing optionality for projects in a shorter timeframe helping to accelerate the repair and development of critical US transportation infrastructure.
What are the resources of the Build America Bureau?
There are three core components of the new Bureau:
- An Outreach and Project Development team, that will continue the Bureau work to educate project sponsors about how they can best combine DOT credit, funding programs, and innovative project delivery approaches such as public-private partnerships (P3), and then offer project-level technical assistance to get them ready to pursue it. Project sponsors are encouraged to reach out to the Bureau as early as possible in the project development process so the team can work with them on key requirements.
- A Credit Programs team that encompasses the TIFIA, RRIF, and PABs programs. See the following links for more information about each of the credit program components:
- TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovative Act): /tifia
- RRIF (Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0128
- PABs (Private Activity Bonds): http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/finance/tools_programs/federal_debt_financing/private_activity_bonds/
- The FASTLANE Grant Program team, which will administer the application process for FASTLANE grants. See https://www.transportation.gov/FASTLANEgrants for more information about this program.
Council on Credit and Finance
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act established a new Council on Credit and Finance, chaired by the Deputy Secretary. The Council is charged with the review of Bureau program applications, making recommendations to the Secretary regarding projects seeking assistance from those programs, and reviewing approved projects on a regular basis. The Council on Credit and Finance builds on the Credit Council that DOT had previously established through administrative measures. The Council on Credit and Finance generally meets on a monthly basis, with regularly scheduled meetings for 2016/2017 listed here.
Make the Build America Bureau Your First Stop
The U.S. Department of Transportation is encouraging projects to make the Build America Bureau their first stop when thinking about accessing federal credit programs, or if they are interested in pursuing other innovative finance strategies a public private partnership.