Reliable infrastructure is a key component of a flourishing economy. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program is built on this idea. Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) announced awards for the sixth round of the ever-popular TIGER Discretionary Grant program, which will fund 72 projects from 46 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states during this round, up from the 585 applications received in 2013. Overall, applicants requested $9 billion for transportation projects—15 times the $600 million available for the program, said officials in a press release. You can read about the awardees and projects here; a sample of the projects, taken from the fact sheet, are below:
Examples of Funded Projects
Duke Belt Line Trail Master Plan – City of Durham, N.C.
A $222,700 TIGER grant will help create a master plan for developing the Duke Belt Line Trail, a bicycle and pedestrian trail that would link the Durham Station Transportation Center to the Triangle’s bus and rail system, connecting neighborhoods north of downtown seamlessly to the regional mobility network.
CAD/AVL System Replacement Project – New York Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA)
Approximately $15 million in TIGER funds will be used to help replace the Capital District Transportation Authority’s obsolete computer aided dispatch/automatic vehicle location (CAD/AVL) system with Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
Tawa’ovi Community Streets and Infrastructure Project – Hopi Tribe in Arizona
Four tribes in four states will share in more than $5 million in TIGER grant awards. A $2.89 million award will go toward a Tawa’ovi sustainable community development project that will develop primary and secondary roadways. The project is expected to reduce travel away from the local area for services and increase travel efficiency through the Hopi Reservation.
Broadway Bridge Plan – City of West Sacramento
A $1.5 million award was issued to the City of West Sacramento to complete the environmental documentation phase of a new Broadway Bridge crossing the Sacramento River and connecting West Sacramento to the state’s capital. The bridge will provide a new multi-modal corridor and relieve traffic congestion from U.S. 50’s Pioneer Bridge, which serves as the main thoroughfare for regional traffic.
Low Supply, Great Demand
Only 9 percent of TIGER applications were funded this year: 72 out of 797 eligible applications. And 36 percent more applications were submitted this year over last year. There are stories across the country of well-planned projects that simply did not receive TIGER funding—and not necessarily because an application or project was lacking:
"For every project we [now] select, we must turn dozens more away—projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and grow the number of projects we could support," said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in the Department’s press release. The GROW AMERICA Act would authorize $5 billion over 5 years for the TIGER program.
Since the program started in 2009, approximately $4.2 billion has been awarded to grantees over six rounds of funding. More than $124 billion has been requested over that same period.