DOT: New Initiative for Loan and Credit Programs

Monday, July 19, 2004
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the establishment of a department-wide Credit Council to enhance oversight and management of the Department’s direct loan and loan guarantee programs that are administered by the Maritime Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

Currently, the Department’s four credit programs are responsible for $7.5 billion in outstanding loans and guarantees (including pending commitments).

"As we continue to build a transportation infrastructure and transportation assets that keep our economy moving, it is critical that we act on proven principles of financial management to assure both taxpayers and users of the Department’s direct loan and loan guarantee programs that we are protecting the integrity and management of these programs," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. "The DOT Credit Council achieves this important need."

"The Council will offer a fully coordinated and integrated review of incoming applications and current loan portfolios by standardizing the Department’s oversight of the financial review process," said Linda Combs, Assistant Secretary of Budget and Programs/Chief Financial Officer. The DOT Credit Council is scheduled to meet quarterly and is modeled after the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Credit Council that will now be combined into the department-wide Council.

In addition to the Federal Highways’ TIFIA program, the Maritime Administration’s Maritime Guaranteed Loan (Title XI) Program, the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing, and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s Minority Business Resource Center Short-term Lending program will greatly benefit from the Credit Council’s emphasis on solid financial analysis and review.

The establishment of the DOT Credit Council will lead to a more expedient and streamlined application review process while preserving autonomy within each operating administration. For example, applications for the Title XI Loan Guarantee Program will continue to be submitted to the Maritime Administration and decisions to approve or disapprove an application will continue to reside with the Administrator.

"Shipbuilders and ship owners should be pleased to note that the Department has developed a process that encourages and enhances efficiency, transparency and reliability from the time an application arrives to the point when a decision is made," said Captain William G. Schubert, Maritime Administrator. The DOT Credit Council is comprised of the Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs/CFO, who serves as chair, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, the General Counsel, the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, the Federal Highway Administrator, the Federal Transit Administrator, the Federal Railroad Administrator, the Maritime Administrator, and the Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

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