U.S. DOT announced today nearly $500 million will be made available for transportation projects across the country in the eighth round of the highly successful and competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. This funding will improve safety and economic opportunity in two U.S. territories, 32 states, and 40 communities across the country.
The highly competitive TIGER grant program supports innovative projects, including multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional projects, which are difficult to fund through traditional federal programs. This year’s awards focus on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural.
Since 2009, the TIGER grant program has provided a combined $5.1 billion to 421 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and tribal communities. These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. The 2016 TIGER round alone is leveraging nearly $500 million in federal investment to support $1.74 billion in overall transportation investments.
Demand for the 2016 TIGER grant program continued to far exceed available funds; the DOT received 585 eligible applications from all 50 States, and several U.S. territories, tribal communities, cities, and towns throughout the United States, collectively requesting over $9.3 billion in funding. During the previous seven rounds, the Department received more than 7,300 applications requesting more than $143 billion for transportation projects across the country.
A few examples of this year’s TIGER awards include:
- In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the I-579 Cap Urban Connector Project will receive $19 million to construct a cap over a below-grade portion of Interstate 579 in downtown Pittsburgh. The cap will reconnect the Hill District to downtown Pittsburgh, more than 60 years after highway and arena construction razed a middle income African American community. The project includes improvements to nearby streets, sidewalks, and crosswalks, a new bus stop, bike-sharing station, and ADA-compliant walkways. It also will create open space for transportation and recreation.
- The city of Brownsville, Texas will receive $10 million to rehabilitate a regional bus maintenance facility which will also serve as a new passenger transfer station, purchase eight hybrid transit replacement buses, and renovate bus stops to include sidewalks, curb ramps, and benches. The grant will also fund an innovative 2.4-mile long causeway which will be one of the longest dedicated pedestrian/bike bridge facilities of its kind in the United States and the first of its kind in Texas.
- Several TIGER 2016 grants also went to projects supporting the movement of freight to boost economic competitiveness. These include $6.2 million for an inland port in Little Rock, Arkansas, $17.7 million for a highway freight interchange in Scott County, Minnesota, and $9.8 million for a rural freight project that crosses the South Carolina/North Carolina border.
Notably, of the 40 grant recipients this year, nearly two-thirds are repeat applicants. The U.S. Department of Transportation has made a concerted effort to provide technical assistance to applicants to improve their projects.
TIGER funding is provided in the FY 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed by President Obama on December 18, 2015. The Act does not provide dedicated funding for the planning, preparation, or design of capital projects; however, these activities may be eligible to the extent that they are part of an overall construction project. A minimum of 20 percent of funds will go to projects in rural areas.