Austin and USDOT Partner on $22b in Transportation Projects

The partnership’s mission is to initiate more projects in the region.

Source : Pixabay

April 26, 2023

Author : Alex Bustillos

The City of Austin is all set to become the first-of-its-kind federal-city collaboration that will identify potentially billions of dollars in funding for infrastructure projects that offer long-term solutions and reunite communities.

The City of Austin, Texas, and the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced a strategic $22 billion partnership to find ways to finance and deliver mobility-focused infrastructural improvements. 

Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian and Austin Mayor Kirk Watson signed the agreement in Austin City Hall. 

In the past, similar projects have been launched between the USDOT and several state entities. However, the Emerging Projects Agreement with Austin is pioneering and is believed to set a benchmark for future proposals between the federal entity and smaller municipalities. 

The Emerging Projects Agreement focuses on the City of Austin's "Mobility Program of Projects," a network of projects to improve regional transport. 

The Build America Bureau and the City of Austin will look into opportunities for innovative project planning, procurement, financing, and delivery, including the use of low-interest rate financings such as Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans, Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF), Private Activity Bonds (PABs), and technical assistance grants.

Several projects would receive financing because of this collaboration. 

  1. Project Connect is a $7.1 billion partnership between the city and local transit agencies to improve public transportation throughout Central Texas
  2. A $3.6 billion Corridor Construction Program, which includes the analysis, planning, design, and implementation of transformative safety and mobility upgrades on numerous major roadways in Austin, as well as Complete Communities infrastructure
  3. A $4 billion expansion of the Austin Bergstrom International Airport
  4. $250 million plan to enhance safety through the Roadway Extensions, Connections, and Capacity Improvements Program
  5. $963 million is allocated to the I-35 “Cap and Stitch” program

“We are dealing with a large and complicated program of projects that will significantly enhance transportation mobility, resiliency, affordability, and safety,” said Morteza Farajian, Executive Director of USDOT’s Build America Bureau.

A workshop will be held by the Build America Bureau and Austin officials to engage stakeholders, examine infrastructure issues, and help identify potential innovative solutions. 

The Build America Bureau promotes transportation infrastructure investment by lending Federal dollars to qualifying borrowers, removing impediments to creditworthy projects, and supporting best practices in project design, financing, delivery, and operations.  

The ultimate goal of this partnership is to help Austin achieve or exceed the intended outcomes of these projects and provide communities with faster, cheaper, and more equitable results.

The partnership’s mission is to initiate more projects in the Austin region to reconnect indigenous communities and adopt avant-garde technology to minimize vehicle and pedestrian fatalities while retaining vulnerable local small businesses and residents.

Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said, “The Emerging Projects Agreement creates a great opportunity for Austin to try new ideas for accelerating mobility projects in a manner that also respects our community values.”

Category : Department of Transportation Federal Government Investment in Infrastructure Local Government Freeways and Highways

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