U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Sept. 5 that 52 transportation projects in 37 states will receive a total of approximately $474 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2013 discretionary grant program. Among these, 25 projects funded at $123.4 million will be designated for projects in rural areas of the country.
“These transformational TIGER projects are the best argument for investment in our transportation infrastructure,” Foxx said. “Together, they support President Obama’s call to ensure a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing infrastructure, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth.”
The highly competitive TIGER program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for large, multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources. These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. The 2013 TIGER round alone supports $1.8 billion in overall project investments.
TIGER has enjoyed overwhelming demand since its creation, a trend continued by TIGER 2013. Applications for this most recent round of grants totaled more than $9 billion, far exceeding the $474 million set aside for the program. In all, the Department received 585 applications from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The projects funded through this round of TIGER illustrate the President’s goals of creating “Ladders of Opportunity,” the need for a “Fix it First” approach to infrastructure, and contributing to America’s economic growth. The following are examples of how TIGER supports these goals:
Ladders of Opportunity: A good example of a project connecting people to jobs and economic opportunities is the Atlanta Beltline Corridor, a 33-mile system of trails, transit and parks circling downtown Atlanta and connecting more than 45 communities throughout the city and region. A total of $18 million in TIGER funds will be used to build two miles of the trail. This project will provide connections for residents in primarily low-income and minority communities to bus routes, rail stations, schools, parks, and other recreational activities.
Fix it First: The $10 million investment to reconstruct the Tacoma, Wash., rail trestle is a good example of a project that will repair existing infrastructure. Replacing the 100-year old single-track wooden trestle and bridge with a modern twin-track structure will double capacity and improve reliability and travel time for Sounder and Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service. This “fix it first” project also adds freight capacity on the Tacoma Rail line, contributing to economic growth and supporting Pierce County, the city of Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma.
Economic Growth: An example of a project that will help jumpstart local and national economic growth is the $10 million investment in the Houston Bayport Wharf extension project. The investment will allow the terminal to double its cargo capacity by 2033, supporting international trade with more than 1,000 ports in 203 countries. The project will increase the port’s ability to take advantage of the ships expected after the Panama Canal expansion and supporting President Obama’s goal of doubling exports. The project also will increase the productivity of the terminal by reducing truck waiting and idling times.
On March 26, the president signed the FY 2013 Appropriations Act, which after sequestration provided approximately $474 million for Department of Transportation national infrastructure investments. Like the first four rounds, TIGER 2013 grants are for capital investments in infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis based on the published selection criteria. This is the fifth round of TIGER funding.