Freight rail in Kentucky, the Port of New Orleans, multimodal transit in San Antonio, roads¸ bridges and other projects nationwide will share in $511 million in federal transportation funding just released by the so-called TIGER program.
Nearly half of the third round of funds from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery competitive grant program (TIGER III) will go to roads and bridges. In all, this round of funding will support 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico.
Trippchicago / Flickr
|Upgrades to Chicago’s Blue Line to O’Hare Airport will receive $20 million in the new round of funding.|
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the new round of funding Dec. 15, months ahead of schedule, saying the cash infusion would allow communities “to move forward with critical, job-creating infrastructure projects.”
The top TIGER III grant recipients, with awards of $20 million each, are:
• Repairs to Chicago’s Blue Line between O’Hare Airport and downtown and City Bike Share;
• I-95 High-Occupancy Tolling (HOT) Lanes in Northern Virginia;
• St. Louis (MO) City Arch River Revitalization (I-70 improvements); and
• State Route 91 (CA) Corridor Improvements.
South Jersey Port Rail improvements will get $18.5 million, while North Carolina’s LYNX Blue Line Capacity Expansion project will receive $18 million.
The full list of projects is available here.
The Department of Transportation fielded 848 project applications totaling $14.29 billion for the current round of funding—as with TIGER I and II, far outstripping the available aid.
“The overwhelming demand for these grants clearly shows that communities across the country can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to put Americans to work building the transportation projects that are critical to our economic future,” said LaHood.
|High-Occupancy Tolling (HOT) lanes on I-95 in the Washington DC metro area will also receive $20 million.|
“That’s why we’ve taken action to get these grants out the door quickly, and that is why we will continue to ask Congress to make the targeted investments we need to create jobs, repair our nation’s transportation systems, better serve the traveling public and our nation’s businesses, factories and farms, and make sure our economy continues to grow."
In November, President Obama directed DOT to take “common sense steps” to expedite transportation projects by accelerating the process for review and approval and by leveraging private-sector funding to promote growth and job creation.
As part of that initiative, DOT accelerated the TIGER III application review process and moved up what was to have been its Spring 2012 announcement.
More than $150 million of the total funds will support critical projects in rural areas, and 48 percent will go to road and bridge projects.
• 29% of the funding will support transit projects like the Westside Multimodal Transit Center in San Antonio;
• 12% will help build port projects like the Port of New Orleans Rail Yard Improvements;
• 10% will go to freight rail projects like the Muldraugh Bridge Replacement in Kentucky;
• Three grants are directed to tribal governments, for transportation needs in Indian country; and
• Three grants will improve multimodal access to airports, including DFW in Texas.
Work has begun on 33 planning projects, while 58 capital projects nationwide are under way from the first two rounds of TIGER. An additional 13 projects are expected to break ground over the next six months.
In 2009 and 2010, the Department received a total of 2,400 applications requesting $76 billion, greatly exceeding the $2.1 billion available in the TIGER I and TIGER II grant programs. Those programs ultimately awarded grants to 126 freight, highway, transit, port and bicycle/pedestrian projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
DOT says the TIGER grants support “transportation projects that have a significant national or regional impact.”
Projects are chosen for their ability to:
• Contribute to the nation’s long-term economic competitiveness;
• Improve the condition of current facilities and systems;
• Increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
• Improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities;
• Enhance communities through increased transportation choices and connections; and
• Create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate increases in economic activity.