Last week U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that 47 transportation projects in 34 states and the District of Columbia will receive a total of almost $500 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2012 program.
The TIGER program is a highly competitive program that is able to fund innovative projects difficult or impossible to fund through other federal programs. In many cases, these grants will serve as the final piece of funding for infrastructure investments totaling $1.7 billion in overall project costs. These federal funds are being leveraged with money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies.
The grants will fund a wide range of innovative transportation projects in urban and rural areas across the country:
• Of the $500 million in TIGER 2012 funds available for grants, more than $120 million will go to critical projects in rural areas.
• Roughly 35 percent of the funding will go to road and bridge projects, including more than $30 million for the replacement of rural roads and bridges that need improvements to address safety and state of good repair deficiencies.
• 16 percent of the funding will support transit projects like the Wave Streetcar Project in Fort Lauderdale.
• 13 percent of the funding will support high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects like the Raleigh Union Station Project in North Carolina.
• 12 percent will go to freight rail projects, including elements of the CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) program to reduce freight rail congestion in Chicago.
• 12 percent will go to multimodal, bicycle and pedestrian projects like the Main Street to Main Street Multimodal Corridor project connecting Memphis and West Memphis.
• 12 percent will help build port projects like the Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal at the Port of Oakland.
• Three grants were also directed to tribal governments to create jobs and address critical transportation needs in Indian country.
TIGER projects will also improve accessibility for people with disabilities to health care, education and employment opportunities.
Over the next six months, 27 projects are expected to break ground from the previous three rounds of TIGER. In addition, work is under way on 64 capital projects across the country.
While none of the Atlanta region’s applicants were selected this round, the City of Atlanta was awarded a $47.6 million dollar grant in 2010 to help implement a Downtown streetcar, which may serve as the potential foundation of a larger Atlanta streetcar system, should voters approve the upcoming Transportation Referendum.