DOT_Logo_150pxThe U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) last week unveiled its decisions in awarding the seventh round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. The agency announced it had awarded a total $500 million in grants to 39 projects in 34 different states, with some projects crossing state lines.

The awards followed the departments evaluation of 627 eligible applications, requesting a total $10.1 billion worth of projects — 20 times the program’s available funding. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today formally unveiled the Department of Transportation’s Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC).

BATIC will serve as the single point of contact and coordination for states, municipalities and project sponsors looking to utilize federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation credit programs and explore ways to access private capital in public private partnerships.

Andrew Curtis Right will serve as the Executive Director of BATIC. Prior to serving at USDOT, Right worked in the financial services industry advising on transportation infrastructure transactions. Right received a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering and Operations Research, with certificates (minors) in Engineering and Management Systems and Public and International Affairs, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University in 1997. He also received an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School in 2003 where he was elected a Baker Scholar, the designation for the top 5 percent of the graduating class.

“With his background in civil engineering and infrastructure financing, no one is more qualified and ready to lead BATIC than Andrew,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “He and his team will provide project partners and potential investors with the clarity and technical assistance they need to move more projects forward and reduce our nation’s infrastructure deficit.”

BATIC was established a year ago and is the product of President Obama’s Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide effort aimed to harness the potential of private capital to complement government funding. BATIC will assist project sponsors to navigate the procedural, permitting, and financial barriers to increased infrastructure investment and development.

BATIC will work with AASHTO through a cooperative agreement to establish The BATIC Institute: An AASHTO Center for Excellence (the Institute). The BATIC Institute will aim to improve State DOTs and other public sector organizations’ ability to effectively employ project finance tools through a program of training, sharing best practices, and technical assistance. As part of this effort, AASHTO and USDOT will work with project sponsors across the country to identify institutional capacity building needs and develop resources.

“Transportation departments are increasingly challenged to find the financial resources needed to maintain and modernize their aging infrastructure systems,” said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. “This Institute is a vital resource for state and local government officials looking to identify and utilize ‘real world’ solutions to finance transportation projects.”

In the fall of 2016, the Department of Transportation will be unveiling a new state of the art center of excellence for BATIC. The space will be modernized to include updated standard design features, modernized technology, and collaborative space designed to foster the “one stop shopping” concept that the BATIC embodies as a core business practice.

Secretary Foxx and Right will travel to New Jersey on Thursday to participate in a BATIC press conference at the Port of Newark.

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DOT_Logo_150pxRALEIGH, N.C. — USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced last month that a federally-led regional study will be conducted to develop a shared, workable vision for a Southeast passenger rail network. Secretary Foxx noted that:

“A world-class passenger rail network in our fastest-growing regions is no luxury; it’s a necessity.
[The US Department of Transportation] will undertake a … planning effort to create a shared, workable vision for a Southeast passenger rail network that connects Washington, DC to Richmond, to Charlotte, to Raleigh, and to Atlanta. These are cities that –like their Northeast Corridor counterparts– are business and population centers between which people need a travel option beyond crowded highways and airplanes.”

The planning process will help establish a common, long-term vision for intrastate and regional passenger rail services based upon existing conditions, projections of future travel demand, and the optimal role for the rail network with multi-modal connections.

The study was awarded in response to a Statement of Interest submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) by the N.C. Department of Transportation on behalf of the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The study will build upon work already completed by these partners as well as the Virginia-North Carolina Interstate Rail Compact. 

The study will be led by FRA and a consultant team with input from multiple stakeholders including state departments of transportation, state and regional economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, Class I, regional, and short line railroad operators, regional and select local planning organizations, select regional and local transit operators, and rail advocacy groups. 

Through stakeholder dialogue and engagement, the study will develop an implementable vision for the role of rail in providing transportation options between growing business and population centers, and in promoting economic development in the Southeast.