Cities in the Bay Area are expected to work with the new Biden administration to free up $ 100 billion in low-cost loans that can go to infrastructure projects, including rail and transit. Loans can be essential for rebuilding and expanding transportation systems, according to a recent white paper from the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. More importantly, there is no need for new legislation: these funds can be brought into play immediately by the new administration.

From “Fund America’s Infrastructure Needs With Low-Cost Federal Loans From USDOT», Written by Martin Klepper:

There is a growing national awareness of the critical importance of rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Delay increases the costs of a project and delays economic benefits such as new jobs, increased tax revenues, improved safety and a cleaner environment. The Biden administration can help solve these infrastructure needs without waiting for new legislation by making tens of billions of dollars in funding available for transportation infrastructure across the United States. No further congressional action is required: funding has already been allocated. The new management of the Department of Transport (DOT) can make these funds available for qualified projects as of January 20, 2021.

The advantages of the loan program include:

  • The Law on the financing and innovation of transport infrastructure (TIFIA) currently has about $ 70 billion of unused loan capacity. TIFIA borrowers can include local governments, state departments of transportation, transit agencies, and other agencies that will build, own, operate, and finance projects in partnership with local governments.
  • The Railway Rehabilitation and Improvement Funding Act (RRIF) currently has about $ 30 billion of unused lending capacity. RRIF loans are primarily intended for rail infrastructure projects. RRIF borrowers can include private owners of railways and governments, among others.

The document is accessible to the public here.