Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems. Topic 37-11. Debt Financing Practices

Many state and local governments have a long history of issuing debt to help finance certain infrastructure improvements. About one quarter of annual highway capital investment in the U.S. is in the form of debt rather than grants and equity (over $14 billion out of approximately $70 billion). Forty-one states have outstanding debt obligations issued for highway purposes, yet among those states, there is a wide variance in the amount of debt issued. Eight have balances greater than $3 billion and six states have balances under $300 million. Some states and transit agencies have adopted pay-as-you go practices with their state/local funds totally committed to current projects. Others have issued debt based on the assumption that there will be increases in funding in the new federal transportation reauthorization bill. Basic principles of debt issuance for surface transportation projects have not yet been compiled into a single source for use by the public sector. Expertise may exist in more debt-experienced states that may be useful to administrators and elected officials in states and local governments less familiar with the nuances of debt financing decisions. This synthesis will identify principles commonly used by capital program managers and major project sponsors when deciding when and how to best utilize debt financing techniques.


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  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $29000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Williams, Jon

  • Performing Organizations:

    TransTech Management, Incorporated

    Wayland, MA  United States  01778-
  • Principal Investigators:

    Henkin, Tamar

  • Start Date: 20051021
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20070301
  • Source Data: RiP Project 11244

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01463005
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic
  • Files: RIP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:14PM