The Bond Buyer published a story today saying that Metro is spearheading a nationwide push to create a tax-credit bond program to finance transportation projects. As Move LA has noted before, Measure J was actually "Plan B" for accelerating Measure R transit projects. "Plan A" was a combination of the federal low-interest loan program called TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act), which was included in MAP-21, last year's federal transportation reauthorization, plus qualified transportation investment bonds or QTIBs, which in the end were not included in MAP-21.

These qualified tax credit bonds are taxable bonds issued by state, local or other eligible issuers, with the federal government subsidizing most or all of the interest through granting investors annual tax credits in lieu of interest. These are the bonds that Metro is once again working to build support for, as part of a $45 billion ten-year federal program, estimated to cost the federal government $7.5 billion in lost taxes over ten years. Under the proposal, the US Treasury Department would set the maximum reimbursable rate for the bonds each day, enabling them to be sold at their face amount without interest cost to the issuer.

"The budding coalition behind the effort maintains the program makes sense because Congress has already authorized tax-credit bonds in forestry conservationb, renewable energy projects, energy conservation, qualified ozone academies and new school construction," writes the Bond Buyer.

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