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RESOURCE PAPER Accelerating Project Development Approaches and Techniques for Expedient Project Delivery Sharon Greene, Sharon Greene and Associates Michael Schneider, PB Consult D espite a number of recently developed tools and refers to moving the traditional federal-aid transporta- techniques for innovative financing of surface tion process from a single strategy of federal funding on transportation projects, relatively few such pro- a "grants reimbursement" basis to a diversified jects have experienced substantial acceleration in actual approach that includes innovative financing concepts delivery to the public. States, municipalities, and special- developed from both the public and the private sectors. purpose authorities have used new methods to leverage As is well known to conference participants, the federal traditional sources of funds, which in many cases have government has traditionally financed transportation allowed the delivery of projects that would have had to infrastructure primarily through outright 80 percent wait for pay-as-you-go financing. However, the value of grants. With the Intermodal Surface Transportation such innovation in the more rapid delivery of trans- Efficiency Act of 1991, the National Highway System portation projects is often lost because of factors that Designation Act of 1995, and the Transportation Equity substantially inhibit their effective use. Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the U.S. Department The purpose of this resource paper is to encourage of Transportation (USDOT) began providing alternative and stimulate discussion about methods by which more or "innovative" forms of nongrant assistance, as well as projects may be delivered more expediently. Not surpris- means by which the traditional federal grants process ingly, many nonfinancial factors interact in project deliv- could be made more flexible. This definition conveys a ery, which in combination reduce the value of new rather large playing field for innovation, which encom- methods for generating and utilizing funds for capital passes virtually all programs that utilize borrowing, project development. This paper will explore such factors guarantees, and other means of leveraging funds. By this and their relationship to innovative finance, with the definition, a significant number of transportation pro- principal objective of defining more effective approaches jects in the past 12 to 15 years have taken advantage of for consideration in the "Next TEA" reauthorization innovative financing. Many are now in operation; oth- process. Succinctly stated, the full value of innovations in ers are in the final stages of development, environmental financing methods for surface transportation programs clearance, and preliminary and final design. will only be realized when they are paired with compan- As paraphrased by the U.S. General Accounting ion innovations in the project definition, development, Office in its September 25, 2002, testimony before the approval, and implementation processes. Committee on Finance and the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the goals for the FHWA Innovative Finance Program are as follows:1 INNOVATIVE FINANCE FRAMEWORK 1 Statement of JayEtta Z. Hecker, Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, United States General Accounting Office, testimony before the According to the Federal Highway Administration Senate Committee on Finance and the Committee on Environment (FHWA), "innovative finance" is a broad term that and Public Works, Sept. 25, 2002. 69