States are roaring ahead, spending a lot of money and making procurement commitments based on the assumption that outgoing DOT Secretary Ray LaHood meant what he told Public Works Financing (PWF) after passage of MAP-21 last July—“We get it. Our job is to put people to work.”
The response from transportation agencies has been overwhelming. Seven letters of interest (LOIs) for projects worth $8 billion have been submitted to USDOT in the past two months. A total of 28 new loan requests for projects worth $41 billion from 24 different cities, regional agencies and state DOTs have been submitted since loan requests were invited last August (see p. 12).
But all of the loan requests are backed up at the initial LOI stage, which means none of the project sponsors has been officially invited to apply for a loan. In the past, it has taken over a year from that point for TIFIA to complete its due diligence and actually sign a loan. . .