US bill boosts TIFIA seven-fold
The US House of Representatives approved the two-year bill by a vote of 373 to 52. Reforms will streamline the lengthy project approval process, consolidate federal programmes and ensure that states have more flexibility to direct limited resources to high-priority needs.
Over fiscal years 2013 and 2014, the measure would authorise $79.4bn for highways, $17.1bn for transit, and $1.4bn for highway safety programmes.
As well as cutting red tape, new measures include a requirement for the Secretary of Transportation to develop standard P3 transaction model contracts within 18 months.
TIFIA funding will also be increased seven-fold to US$750m for fiscal year 2013 and to $1bn for fiscal year 2014, and the maximum share of project costs that can be funded under the TIFIA programme has increased from 33% to 49%.
In terms of tolling, the Conference Report on the bill grants blanket authority for new capacity tolling on Interstate Highways, so long as the number of current non-HOV (high occupancy vehicle) toll-free lanes does not decrease.
The measures must now be signed into law by President Obama.