Everyone has had this experience: You make a call to request a service or repair only to have a representative tell you’ve reached the wrong person. And so you’re transferred to another line, and another line, and then yet another line.
That scenario is exactly what the Department of Transportation hopes to avoid when state and local officials call requesting information about federal credit and grant programs or how to connect with private investors.
On July 20, the DOT staged a grand opening ceremony for the Build America Bureau and treated attendees to an impressively large, homemade sheet cake.
“The Bureau,” as it’s called within DOT, will be a single point of contact for states, municipalities and project sponsors seeking investments, technical assistance or information about best practices. It will promote a culture that prioritizes customer service, the department said.
“The Build America Bureau will be a one-stop shop to help develop projects and provide financing in a single streamlined, effective, and comprehensive manner,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “It will allow DOT to be responsive to America’s changing transportation needs and opportunities, so we can deliver real, tangible infrastructure development for local, regional, and national population centers.”
The Obama administration laid the groundwork for the new bureau when it established the Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) in 2015. Congress helped make the program permanent later that same year when it enacted a five-year highway and transit law known as the FAST Act, which called for the establishment of a “National Surface Transportation and Innovation Finance Bureau”.
The new Build America Bureau combines BATIC with existing transportation and rail loan programs as well as programs for private activity bonds and DOT’s new $800 million FASTLANE freight grant program.
A tour of the bureau revealed an additional perk for staffers – a brand new coffee maker. So we know they’ll be alert and at the ready all day.
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