23 USC 602 - Determination of eligibility and project selection

(a) Eligibility.— 
To be eligible to receive financial assistance under this chapter, a project shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Inclusion in transportation plans and programs.— 
The project shall satisfy the applicable planning and programming requirements of sections 134 and 135 at such time as an agreement to make available a Federal credit instrument is entered into under this chapter.
(2) Application.— 
A State, local government, public authority, public-private partnership, or any other legal entity undertaking the project and authorized by the Secretary, shall submit a project application to the Secretary.
(3) Eligible project costs.— 

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(A) In general.— 
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), to be eligible for assistance under this chapter, a project shall have eligible project costs that are reasonably anticipated to equal or exceed the lesser of
(i) $50,000,000; or
(ii) 331/3 percent of the amount of Federal highway assistance funds apportioned for the most recently completed fiscal year to the State in which the project is located.
(B) Intelligent transportation system projects.— 
In the case of a project principally involving the installation of an intelligent transportation system, eligible project costs shall be reasonably anticipated to equal or exceed $15,000,000.
(4) Dedicated revenue sources.— 
The Federal credit instrument shall be repayable, in whole or in part, from tolls, user fees, or other dedicated revenue sources that also secure the project obligations.
(5) Public sponsorship of private entities.— 
In the case of a project that is undertaken by an entity that is not a State or local government or an agency or instrumentality of a State or local government, the project that the entity is undertaking shall be publicly sponsored as provided in paragraphs (1) and (2).
(b) Selection Among Eligible Projects.— 

(1) Establishment.— 
The Secretary shall establish criteria for selecting among projects that meet the eligibility requirements specified in subsection (a).
(2) Selection criteria.— 

(A) In general.— 
The selection criteria shall include the following:

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(i) The extent to which the project is nationally or regionally significant, in terms of generating economic benefits, supporting international commerce, or otherwise enhancing the national transportation system.
(ii) The creditworthiness of the project, including a determination by the Secretary that any financing for the project has appropriate security features, such as a rate covenant, to ensure repayment.
(iii) The extent to which assistance under this chapter would foster innovative public-private partnerships and attract private debt or equity investment.
(iv) The likelihood that assistance under this chapter would enable the project to proceed at an earlier date than the project would otherwise be able to proceed.
(v) The extent to which the project uses new technologies, including intelligent transportation systems, that enhance the efficiency of the project.
(vi) The amount of budget authority required to fund the Federal credit instrument made available under this chapter.
(vii) The extent to which the project helps maintain or protect the environment.
(viii) The extent to which assistance under this chapter and chapter 1 would reduce the contribution of Federal grant assistance to the project.
(B) Preliminary rating opinion letter.— 
For purposes of subparagraph (A)(ii), the Secretary shall require each project applicant to provide a preliminary rating opinion letter from at least 1 rating agency indicating that the projects senior obligations, which may be the Federal credit instrument, have the potential to achieve an investment-grade rating.
(c) Federal Requirements.— 
In addition to the requirements of this title for highway projects, chapter 53 of title 49 for transit projects, and section 5333 (a) of title 49 for rail projects, the following provisions of law shall apply to funds made available under this chapter and projects assisted with the funds:
(1) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.).
(2) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).
(3) The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4601 et seq.).