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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of December 12, 2019

Title 49Subtitle A → Part 80


Title 49: Transportation


PART 80—CREDIT ASSISTANCE FOR SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS


Contents
§80.1   Purpose.
§80.3   Definitions.
§80.5   Limitations on assistance.
§80.7   Application process.
§80.9   Federal requirements.
§80.11   Investment-grade ratings.
§80.13   Threshold criteria.
§80.15   Selection criteria.
§80.17   Fees.
§80.19   Reporting requirements.
§80.21   Use of administrative offset.

Authority: Secs. 1501 et seq., Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, 241, as amended; 23 U.S.C. 181-189 and 315; 49 CFR 1.48, 1.49, and 1.51.

Source: 64 FR 29750, June 2, 1999, unless otherwise noted.

§80.1   Purpose.

This part implements a Federal credit assistance program for surface transportation projects.

§80.3   Definitions.

The following definitions apply to this part:

Administrative offset means the right of the government to apply moneys held by the government and otherwise owed to a debtor for the extinguishment of claims due the government from the debtor.

Conditional term sheet means a contractual agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the project sponsor (and the lender, if applicable) by which the DOT reserves TIFIA funding for a specific project and commits to providing Federal credit assistance to that project at a future point in time upon satisfaction of specified conditions and subject to the future availability of obligation authority. The DOT will not legally obligate budget authority until those conditions are met. Upon satisfaction of those conditions, the conditional term sheet can be amended and/or restated to trigger an obligation of funds.

Credit agreement means a contractual agreement between the DOT and the project sponsor (and the lender, if applicable) that formalizes the terms and conditions established in the term sheet (or conditional term sheet) and authorizes the execution of a secured loan, loan guarantee, or line of credit.

Eligible project costs mean amounts substantially all of which are paid by, or for the account of, an obligor in connection with a project, including the cost of:

(1) Development phase activities, including planning, feasibility analysis, revenue forecasting, environmental review, permitting, preliminary engineering and design work, and other pre-construction activities;

(2) Construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, replacement, and acquisition of real property (including land related to the project and improvements to land), environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, and acquisition of equipment; and

(3) Capitalized interest necessary to meet market requirements, reasonably required reserve funds, capital issuance expenses, and other carrying costs during construction.

Federal credit instrument means a secured loan, loan guarantee, or line of credit authorized to be made available under this subchapter with respect to a project.

Investment-grade rating means a rating category of BBB minus, Baa3, or higher assigned by a rating agency to project obligations offered into the capital markets.

Lender means any non-Federal qualified institutional buyer (as defined in 17 CFR 230.144A(a)), known as Rule 144A(a) of the Securities and Exchange Commission and issued under the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.), including:

(1) A qualified retirement plan (as defined in section 4974(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 4974(c)) that is a qualified institutional buyer; and

(2) A governmental plan (as defined in section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 414(d)) that is a qualified institutional buyer.

Line of credit means an agreement entered into by the Secretary with an obligor under section 184 of title 23 to provide a direct loan at a future date upon the occurrence of certain events.

Loan guarantee means any guarantee or other pledge by the Secretary to pay all or part of the principal of and interest on a loan or other debt obligation issued by an obligor and funded by a lender.

Local servicer means:

(1) A State infrastructure bank established under title 23; or

(2) A State or local government or any agency of a State or local government that is responsible for servicing a Federal credit instrument on behalf of the Secretary.

Obligor means a party primarily liable for payment of the principal of or interest on a Federal credit instrument, which party may be a corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, or governmental entity, agency, or instrumentality.

Project means:

(1) Any surface transportation project eligible for Federal assistance under title 23 or chapter 53 of title 49;

(2) A project for an international bridge or tunnel for which an international entity authorized under Federal or State law is responsible;

(3) A project for intercity passenger bus or rail facilities and vehicles, including facilities and vehicles owned by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and components of magnetic levitation transportation systems; and

(4) A project for publicly owned intermodal surface freight transfer facilities, other than seaports and airports, if the facilities are located on or adjacent to National Highway System routes or connections to the National Highway System.

Project obligation means any note, bond, debenture, or other debt obligation issued by an obligor in connection with the financing of a project, other than a Federal credit instrument.

Project sponsor, for the purposes of this part, means an applicant for TIFIA assistance or an obligor, as appropriate.

Rating agency means a bond rating agency identified by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization.

Secured loan means a direct loan or other debt obligation issued by an obligor and funded by the Secretary in connection with the financing of a project under section 183 of title 23.

State means any one of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico.

Subsidy amount means the amount of budget authority sufficient to cover the estimated long-term cost to the Federal Government of a Federal credit instrument, calculated on a net present value basis, excluding administrative costs and any incidental effects on governmental receipts or outlays in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (2 U.S.C. 661 et seq.).

Substantial completion means the opening of a project to vehicular or passenger traffic or a comparable event as determined by the Secretary and specified in the credit agreement.

Term sheet means a contractual agreement between the DOT and the project sponsor (and the lender, if applicable) that sets forth the key business terms and conditions of a Federal credit instrument. Execution of this document represents a legal obligation of budget authority.

TIFIA means the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998, Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, 241 (1998).

[64 FR 29750, June 2, 1999, as amended at 65 FR 44939, July 19, 2000]

§80.5   Limitations on assistance.

(a) The total amount of credit assistance offered to any project under this part shall not exceed 33 percent of the anticipated eligible project costs, as measured on an aggregate cash (year-of-expenditure) basis.

(b) Costs incurred prior to a project sponsor's submission of an application for credit assistance may be considered in calculating eligible project costs only upon approval of the Secretary. In addition, applicants shall not include application charges or any other expenses associated with the application process (such as charges associated with obtaining the required preliminary rating opinion letter) among the eligible project costs.

(c) No costs financed internally or with interim funding may be refinanced under this part later than a year following substantial completion of the project.

(d)(1) Within the overall credit assistance limitation of 33 percent of eligible project costs, the Secretary may consider making future-year or multi-year contingent commitments of budget authority and associated credit assistance for projects temporarily lacking certain requirements or with extended construction periods and financing needs. The TIFIA's effectiveness in stimulating private investment in transportation infrastructure depends, in large part, on investor recognition that TIFIA credit instruments represent solid and reliable Federal commitments. Therefore, the Secretary shall make any future-year or multi-year contingent commitment of funds for a project using a conditional term sheet. The conditional term sheet will resemble the standard term sheet that enables the obligation of budget authority, but will also specify the additional actions necessary to trigger subsequent obligation(s). The conditional term sheet will include fixed dates by which any requirements must be met in order for the reserved funding to be obligated.

(2) Upon execution of the conditional term sheet, the Secretary shall reserve budget authority attributable to the appropriate year(s). This reservation will ensure that a project with a conditional commitment will have a priority claim (along with that of any other projects receiving such contingent commitments) on budget authority becoming available in the specified year(s), provided that the project sponsor satisfies each condition outlined in the conditional term sheet. The Secretary will limit such reservations to not more than 50 percent of the budget authority becoming available in the applicable year(s). If a multi-year contingent commitment is made, each year's loan will be tied to distinct, clearly identified project segments or stages or other milestones as specified in the credit agreement.

(e) The obligor may draw upon the line of credit only if net project revenues (including, among other sources, any debt service reserve fund) are insufficient to pay costs specified in 23 U.S.C. 184(a)(2) under the line of credit, including debt service costs. Debt service costs include direct payments of principal and interest as well as reimbursements for such payments in the form of legally required deposits to a debt service reserve fund.

(f) The Secretary shall not obligate funds in favor of a project that has not received an environmental Categorical Exclusion, Finding of No Significant Impact, or Record of Decision.

(g) The Secretary shall fund a secured loan based on the project's financing needs. The credit agreement shall include the anticipated schedule for such loan disbursements.

[64 FR 29750, June 2, 1999, as amended at 65 FR 44939, July 19, 2000]

§80.7   Application process.

(a) Public and private applicants for credit assistance under this part will be required to submit applications to the DOT in order to be considered for approval by the Secretary.

(b) At a minimum, such applications shall provide:

(1) Documentation sufficient to demonstrate that the project satisfies each of the threshold criteria in §80.13 and describe the extent to which the project satisfies each of the selection criteria in §80.15;

(2) Background information on the project for which assistance is sought, such as the project's description, status of environmental and other major governmental permits and approvals, and construction schedule;

(3) Background information on the applicant (project sponsor);

(4) Historical information, if applicable, concerning the applicant's financial condition, including, for example, independently audited financial statements and certifications concerning bankruptcies or delinquencies on other debt; and

(5) Current financial information concerning both the project and the applicant, such as sources and uses of funds for the project and a forecast of cash flows available to service all debt instruments.

(c) An application for a project located in or sponsored by more than one State or other entity shall be submitted to the DOT by just one State or entity. The sponsoring States or entities shall designate a single obligor for purposes of applying for, receiving, and repaying TIFIA credit assistance.

(d) Each fiscal year for which Federal assistance is available under this part, the DOT shall publish a Federal Register notice to solicit applications for credit assistance. Such notice will specify the relevant due dates, the estimated amount of funding available to support TIFIA credit instruments for the current and future fiscal years, contact name(s), and other details for that year's application submissions and funding approvals.

§80.9   Federal requirements.

All projects receiving credit assistance under this part shall comply with:

(a) The relevant requirements of title 23, U.S.C., for highway projects, chapter 53 of title 49, U.S.C., for transit projects, and section 5333(a) of title 49 for rail projects, as appropriate;

(b) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.);

(c) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.);

(d) The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4601 et seq.); and

(e) Other Federal and compliance requirements as may be applicable.

§80.11   Investment-grade ratings.

(a) At the time a project sponsor submits an application, the DOT shall require a preliminary rating opinion letter. This letter is a conditional credit assessment from a nationally recognized credit rating agency that provides a preliminary indication of the project's overall creditworthiness and that specifically addresses the potential of the project's senior debt obligations (those obligations having a lien senior to that of the TIFIA credit instrument on the pledged security) to achieve an investment-grade rating.

(b) The full funding of a secured (direct) loan, loan guarantee, or line of credit shall be contingent on the assignment of an investment-grade rating by a nationally recognized bond rating agency to all project obligations that have a lien senior to that of the Federal credit instrument on the pledged security.

(c) Neither the preliminary rating opinion letter nor the formal credit rating should reflect the effect of bond insurance, unless that insurance provides credit enhancement that secures the TIFIA obligation.

(d) The project sponsor must annually provide, at no cost to the Federal Government, ongoing credit evaluations of the project and related debt obligations, including an annual assessment of the TIFIA credit instrument. The evaluations are to be performed by a nationally recognized credit rating agency and provided to the DOT throughout the life of the TIFIA credit instrument. In addition, the project sponsor will furnish the DOT with any other credit surveillance reports on the TIFIA-assisted project as soon as they are available.

[64 FR 29750, June 2, 1999, as amended at 65 FR 44939, July 19, 2000]

§80.13   Threshold criteria.

(a) To be eligible to receive Federal credit assistance under this part, a project shall meet the following five threshold criteria:

(1) The project shall be consistent with the State transportation plan, if located in a metropolitan area shall be included in that area's metropolitan transportation plan, and shall appear in an approved State transportation improvement program before the DOT and the project sponsor execute a term sheet or credit agreement that results in the obligation of funds;

(2) The State, local servicer, or other entity undertaking the project shall submit a project application to the Secretary of Transportation;

(3) A project shall have eligible project costs that are reasonably anticipated to equal or exceed the lesser of $100 million or 50 percent of the amount of Federal-aid highway funds apportioned for the most recently completed fiscal year to the State in which the project is located (in the case of a project principally involving the installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), eligible project costs shall be reasonably anticipated to equal or exceed $30 million);

(4) Project financing shall be repayable, in whole or in part, from tolls, user fees or other dedicated revenue sources; and

(5) In the case of a project that is undertaken by an entity that is not a State or local government or an agency or instrumentality of a State or local government, the project that the entity is undertaking shall be included in the State transportation plan and an approved State Transportation Improvement Program as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(b) With respect to paragraph (a)(3) of this section, for a project located in more than one State, the minimum cost threshold size shall be the lesser of $100 million or 50 percent of the amount of Federal-aid highway funds apportioned for the most recently completed fiscal year to the participating State that receives the least amount of such funds.

(c) With respect to paragraph (a)(4) of this section, the Secretary may accept general obligation pledges or general corporate promissory pledges and will determine the acceptability of other pledges and forms of collateral as dedicated revenue sources on a case-by-case basis. The Secretary shall not accept a pledge of Federal funds, regardless of source, as security for the TIFIA credit instrument.

§80.15   Selection criteria.

(a) The Secretary shall assign weights as indicated to the following eight selection criteria in evaluating and selecting among eligible projects to receive credit assistance:

(1) The extent to which the project is nationally or regionally significant, in terms of generating economic benefits, supporting international commerce, or otherwise enhancing the national transportation system (20 percent);

(2) The creditworthiness of the project, including a determination by the Secretary that any financing for the project has appropriate security features, such as a rate covenant, to ensure repayment (12.5 percent);

(3) The extent to which such assistance would foster innovative public-private partnerships and attract private debt or equity investment (20 percent);

(4) The likelihood that such assistance would enable the project to proceed at an earlier date than the project would otherwise be able to proceed (12.5 percent);

(5) The extent to which the project uses new technologies, including Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), that enhance the efficiency of the project (5 percent);

(6) The amount of budget authority required to fund the Federal credit instrument made available (5 percent);

(7) The extent to which the project helps maintain or protect the environment (20 percent); and

(8) The extent to which such assistance would reduce the contribution of Federal grant assistance to the project (5 percent).

(b) In addition, 23 U.S.C. 182(b)(2)(B) conditions a project's approval for credit assistance on receipt of a preliminary rating opinion letter indicating that the project's senior debt obligations have the potential to attain an investment-grade rating.

(c) The Secretary may also give preference to applications for loan guarantees rather than other forms of Federal credit assistance. This preference is consistent with Federal policy that, when Federal credit assistance is necessary to meet a Federal objective, loan guarantees should be favored over direct loans, unless attaining the Federal objective requires a subsidy, as defined by the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (2 U.S.C. 661 et seq.), deeper than can be provided by a loan guarantee.

[64 FR 29750, June 2, 1999, as amended at 65 FR 44940, July 19, 2000]

§80.17   Fees.

(a) The DOT will require a non-refundable application fee for each project applying for credit assistance under the TIFIA. The DOT may also require an additional credit processing fee for projects selected to receive TIFIA assistance. Any required application initiation or credit processing fee must be paid by the project sponsor applying for TIFIA assistance and cannot be paid by another party on behalf of the project sponsor. The proceeds of any such fees will equal a portion of the costs to the Federal Government of soliciting and evaluating applications, selecting projects to receive assistance, and negotiating credit agreements. For FY 2000, the DOT will require payment of a fee of $5,000 for each project applying for credit assistance under the TIFIA, to be submitted concurrently with the formal application. The DOT will not impose any credit processing fees for FY 2000. For each application and approval cycle in FY 2001 and beyond, the DOT may adjust the amount of the application fee and will determine the appropriate amount of the credit processing fee based on program implementation experience. The DOT will publish these amounts in each Federal Register solicitation for applications.

(b) Applicants shall not include application initiation or credit processing fees or any other expenses associated with the application process (such as fees associated with obtaining the required preliminary rating opinion letter) among eligible project costs for the purpose of calculating the maximum 33 percent credit amount referenced in §80.5(a).

(c) If, in any given year, there is insufficient budget authority to fund the credit instrument for a qualified project that has been selected to receive assistance under TIFIA, the DOT and the approved applicant may agree upon a supplemental fee to be paid by or on behalf of the approved applicant at the time of execution of the term sheet to reduce the subsidy cost of that project. No such fee may be included among eligible project costs for the purpose of calculating the maximum 33 percent credit amount referenced in §80.5(a).

(d) The DOT will require borrowers to pay servicing fees for each credit instrument approved for funding. Separate fees may apply for each type of credit instrument (e.g., a loan guarantee, a secured loan with a single disbursement, a secured loan with multiple disbursements, or a line of credit), depending on the costs of servicing the credit instrument as determined by the Secretary. Such fees will be set at a level to enable the DOT to recover all or a portion of the costs to the Federal Government of TIFIA credit instruments.

[65 FR 44940, July 19, 2000]

§80.19   Reporting requirements.

At a minimum, any recipient of Federal credit assistance under this part shall submit an annual project performance report and audited financial statements to the DOT within no more than 180 days following the recipient's fiscal year-end for each year during which the recipient's obligation to the Federal Government remains in effect. The DOT may conduct periodic financial and compliance audits of the recipient of credit assistance, as determined necessary by the DOT. The specific credit agreement between the recipient of credit assistance and the DOT may contain additional reporting requirements.

[65 FR 44940, July 19, 2000]

§80.21   Use of administrative offset.

The DOT will not apply an administrative offset to recover any losses to the Federal Government resulting from project risk the DOT has assumed under a TIFIA credit instrument. The DOT may, however, use an administrative offset in cases of fraud, misrepresentation, false claims, or similar criminal acts or acts of malfeasance or wrongdoing.

[65 FR 44940, July 19, 2000]

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