The deteriorating Memorial Bridge that connects Portsmouth, NH, with Kittery, ME—a span with a sufficiency rating of six out of 100—will be one of the lucky few recipients of federal TIGER II infrastructure grants.
Forty-two capital construction projects and 33 planning projects in 40 states will share nearly $600 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s popular TIGER II program, which received nearly 1,000 applications for more than $19 billion from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
The tremendous demand for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II project dollars follows a similar demand for TIGER I project dollars. DOT received nearly 1,500 applications totaling $60 billion in projects for $1.5 billion in TIGER I grants, which were made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
About 29% of TIGER II money will go to road projects, 26% for transit, 20% for rail projects, 16% for ports, 4% for bicycle and pedestrian projects, and 5% for planning projects, DOT said. More than $140 million will be reserved for projects in rural areas.
“These are innovative, 21st-century projects that will change the U.S. transportation landscape by strengthening the economy and creating jobs, reducing gridlock and providing safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation choices,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “Many of these projects could not have been funded without this program.”
Bridges Get Support
TIGER II will provide $20 million to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to replace the Memorial Bridge, which is at the end of its service life. Safety concerns recently prompted a three-ton weight restriction on the bridge, causing all truck traffic to be detoured.
“The project demonstrates the department’s commitment to bringing the nation’s aging road and highway infrastructure to a state of good repair,” DOT said in a statement.
Other awards include $34 million to replace the South Park Bridge in Seattle. That $137.4 million project will replace the 81-year-old regionally significant bridge with a new drawbridge spanning the Duwamish Waterway in the Pacific Northwest’s largest manufacturing and industrial area. The bridge was closed June 30 after receiving a sufficiency rating of four out of 100 and being declared unsafe.
The $23 million Ann Arbor, MI, bridges project will get a $13.9 million boost from TIGER II. The project will replace two bridges on an important east-west arterial road in Ann Arbor. The current bridges have been reduced from four lanes to two for safety reasons, and will reach the end of their useful life in five years.
Rail, Transit Recipients
The City of Atlanta will receive $47.6 million to construct a new streetcar line connecting many of the most important downtown residential, cultural, educational and historic centers.
TIGER II funds are also being used to support a $546 million TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line, a key piece of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30/10 initiative to construct 12 major transit projects in 10 years.
The TIGER II project recipients were chosen for their “significant impact on the nation, a region or metropolitan area,” DOT said. “The projects chosen demonstrate their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and/or enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections.
“The Department also gave priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate rapid increases in economic activity.”
President Obama recently announced a comprehensive infrastructure investment plan that would be front-loaded with $50 billion to expand and renew America’s roads, railways and runways.
A complete list of capital grant recipients can be viewed at: http://www.dot.gov/docs/tiger2grantinfo.pdf.
A complete list of planning grant recipients can be viewed at: http://www.dot.gov/docs/tiger2planninggrantinfo.pdf.