Representatives Allred and Gallagher Introduce Bipartisan RAPID Act to Help Streamline Transportation Financing

May 2, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –  Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32) and Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-08) today introduced the Revitalizing American Priorities for Infrastructure Development (RAPID) Act in the House. The bill would incentivize investment in infrastructure through participation in the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). The bill bolsters transparency for the public, applicants and Congress, as well as expedites projects that meet certain criteria.  

The RAPID Act is a companion bill to bipartisan legislation in the Senate by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).  

“This bill streamlines the application process and improves the TIFIA program so that everyone is more informed and we can encourage investment into our infrastructure,” said Congressman Allred, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Programs like TIFIA allow us to leverage public-private partnerships to meet the needs of our growing region by attracting private investment so that projects can be completed faster. I am pleased to be working in a bipartisan way with Congressman Gallagher to introduce this bill in the House.”

“The TIFIA program is an important tool for improving nationally and regionally important infrastructure projects,” said Congressman Gallagher. “By streamlining the process for securing funds through this program, we can ensure these important projects don’t get bogged down by arduous regulations. I’m proud to join Congressman Allred in introducing this bipartisan, common-sense legislation.”

Endorsing organizations:

  • Association for the Improvement of American Infrastructure (AIAI)
  • American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
  • American Public Transportation Association (APTA)
  • Associated General Contractors (AGC)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • National Sand Stone and Gravel Association (NSSGA)
  • National Association of County Engineers (NACE)
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Background:

The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program helps finance important national or regional surface transportation projects through direct loans, loan guarantees, or lines of credit. The TIFIA program serves as an important piece in financing investment into our nation’s infrastructure.

The RAPID Act would make a number of notable changes to streamline the TIFIA program:

Eligibility Requirements:

In order to be eligible for federal assistance under TIFIA, an application’s senior debt obligations must obtain investment grade ratings from at least two nationally recognized credit rating agencies. The process of securing these ratings can be lengthy and expensive. The RAPID Act would raise this threshold for securing multiple credit rating agency opinions from $75 million to $150 million, reducing the overall review timeline and potentially encouraging greater participation in the program.

Expedited Application Process:

The FAST Act required the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to establish a fast-track application process for projects that meet certain criteria. Unfortunately, this streamlined process has been underutilized and has not met congressional intent. The RAPID Act legislation would add the new criteria to the streamlined application process, increasing the likelihood that the Build America Bureau will be comfortable moving qualifying projects through the process expeditiously.

Process Reports and Status Updates:

The bill would increase transparency in the process by ensuring applicants, the general public, and Congress are well-informed regarding projects seeking TIFIA assistance by requiring USDOT to publish status reports online.