The Center for Excellence in Project Finance, which was authorized by SAFETEA-LU, has been established as a three-year cooperative effort between AASHTO and USDOT. As part of its mission to support state Departments of Transportation in the areas of financial planning and project development, the Center is authorized to undertake objective research into financial management and policy issues. In light of uncertainty related to federal funding for transportation and the reauthorization process - and the pace of discussion related to financial tools and structures - the Center sponsors development of a series of briefing papers on topics of interest to state DOTs. A unique feature of this program is to provide a quick turnaround on the most pressing topics of interest to state DOTs through a streamlined paper development process. The Center draws on a broad group of industry, academic, and legal experts to perform the research, and a team of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Finance and Administration members review output to ensure high and consistent work quality.