The federal government currently has several competitive transportation grant processes underway, but the one which is likely to generate the most interest from local governments and GDOT is known as TIGER II (mentioned in this previous Spotlight post). The original TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) program was funded at $1.5 billion in last year’s stimulus bill, but generated more than 1,450 applications totaling $59 billion. This time around, there is only $600 million available, so competition is likely to be even more intense.
Hopefully, the Atlanta region will have better luck than we did under the original TIGER program, in which local and state hopefuls went 0 for 17 on requests. To help ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself, ARC staff have participated in numerous webinars and “lessons learned” debriefings over the past few months to understand where the region fell short and how to improve our odds in the upcoming cycle.
As a result of what we have learned over the past several months, ARC will implement a more rigorous process of collecting information from potential sponsors in advance of application deadlines and endorsing individual projects. A pre-application is due on July 16, and final applications must be submitted by August 23.
ARC has posted guidance on our website designed to assist potential applicants in tailoring their submittals to reflect the unique goals and requirements of the TIGER II program. Sponsors must respond to a series of questions to demonstrate their understanding of the program’s goals and how their proposed project relates to regional priorities. Projects which meet only the basic threshold requirements for eligibility will receive a “Letter of Eligibility” from ARC to include in the application. Projects which exceed these minimum criteria and are likely to compete well during the national review process will receive a much stronger “Letter of Recommendation” for inclusion.
Potential sponsors are encouraged to review this information carefully before moving forward with an application. More information can also be found at DOT Secretary Ray LaHood’s blog. Lastly, be sure to look for regular Spotlight updates on the program over the next several months.