The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act's loan and loan guarantee program has been touted by many as a crucial funding source for major projects, but most states have never used it and say it has little value for them.

The TIFIA program was established in 1998. Its budget next year is expected to grow to $1 billion from just $122 million in fiscal year 2012 under the most recent transportation funding law. As traditional transportation finance methods such as gas taxes have faltered due to increasingly fuel-efficient cars and stricter emissions standards, "innovative" finance methods like TIFIA have become a key talking point for transportation advocates nationwide.

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