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Dan Webster's TIFIA Reforms Get Florida Transportation Backing

June 22, 2014 - 6:00pm
U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., wants to overhaul the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and he is getting the backing of industry leaders from the Sunshine State.

Webster introduced what he has dubbed the TIFIA 2.0 Act on Friday. The bill has already been sent to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on which Webster sits.

Americas transportation and infrastructure system is the backbone of our economy and is a critical element for growth and job creation, Webster said as he brought out his bill. By prioritizing investable infrastructure, TIFIA 2.0 will improve access to affordable infrastructure financing for states and local governments, promote innovative public-private partnerships and accelerate delivery of large-scale public transportation projects and the jobs that support them.

In an era of bloated government spending, wise and calculated investments are crucial. TIFIA 2.0 provides new money to the transportation and infrastructure system that will bolster our economy and expand opportunity for growth and success without raising taxes, Webster added.

In its current incarnation, TIFIA authorizes federal loans and lines of credit to be used for important surface transportation projects. Websters bill would move TIFIA to rely on a sustainable, revolving fund that will continuously grow to meet our nations infrastructure needs.

Under Websters proposal, projects that are fiscally responsible would be given first priority. Webster insisted that his bill would not raise taxes or raise fees.

While Websters bill has yet to gain any co-sponsors in the House or a Senate backer, it did win the support of transportation leaders from Florida.

Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad insisted that Websters proposal would help transportation projects in the Sunshine State.

Everyone understands that the Highway Trust Fund has solvency issues, and it will take ingenuity on multiple fronts to resolve this systematic problem, Prasad said. Ground-breaking projects like the Miami Intermodal Center, I-595, Port of Miami Tunnel and I-4 Ultimate have demonstrated how TIFIA can help advance major projects through public-private partnerships.

Prasad added that he thought Websters bill would bring new money to the table in an innovative way that supports Floridas plans for infrastructure project delivery.

Bob Burleson, the president of the Florida Transportation Builders Association, also said that Websters legislation would help save the Highway Trust Fund.

It is no secret that the Highway Trust Fund will soon be out of money with no long-term, sustainable solution in sight, Burleson said. Rep. Webster has long been a leader in new ideas for funding Florida's and our nation's infrastructure needs and TIFIA 2.0 is another innovative approach we welcome and support.

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