USDOT partners with City of Austin for innovative infrastructure projects

Posted: 2 March 2023 | | No comments yet

USDOT and the City of Austin’s partnership will identify potentially billions in financing for critical infrastructure projects that will create sustainable solutions and reconnect communities.

USDOT partners with City of Austin for innovative infrastructure projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced that it has established a strategic partnership to facilitate innovative delivery and financing of infrastructure improvements in Austin, Texas.

The Emerging Projects Agreement focuses on the City of Austin’s more than $22 billion ‘Mobility Program of Projects’, a network of projects that have been designed to improve travel throughout the region. 

“The Bureau’s experts will partner with Austin officials to explore innovative approaches and best practices that can advance projects further into development and construction, so communities benefit sooner from the planned improvements,” said Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “We are dealing with a large and complicated programme of projects that will significantly enhance transportation mobility, resiliency, affordability and safety. To deliver this programme effectively and efficiently, we need to form a strong partnership, engage all stakeholders, use innovative approaches and best practices, and take advantage of all tools in our toolbox.”

This partnership will help move projects forward to deliver benefits to the growing region, with the goal of reconnecting communities, using technology to reduce traffic and pedestrian fatalities, and retaining vulnerable local businesses and residents.

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“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,” said Austin Mayor Kirk Watson. “I hope this partnership will help us deliver critical infrastructure projects more efficiently for our taxpayers.”

Under the agreement, the Build America Bureau and City of Austin will explore opportunities for innovative project planning, procurement, financing and delivery that could include using low-interest rate financing such as Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans, Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF), Private Activity Bonds (PABs), and technical assistance grants.

Some of the preliminary list of projects that could benefit from this partnership include:

  • Project Connect, a partnership between the City of Austin, Austin Transit Partnership, and Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority to expand and improve the public transportation network for the entire Central Texas region – $7.1 billion
  • Corridor Construction Program, involving the study, planning, design and construction of transformative safety and mobility improvements on several significant roadways throughout Austin and Complete Communities infrastructure – $3.6 billion 
  • Roadway Extensions, Connections and Capacity Improvements Program to enhance safety – $250 million.

The Bureau and Austin officials will hold a workshop to engage stakeholders, review the infrastructure needs and help identify the potential innovative solutions in April 2023. Both the City of Austin and USDOT consider infrastructure projects on their potential and in a manner that promotes equity and environmental justice.