Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II received nearly 1,000 construction grant applications for more than $19 billion from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
The tremendous demand for TIGER II project dollars follows a similar demand for TIGER I project dollars. On Feb. 17, 2009, the U.S. DOT announced 51 grant awards from nearly 1,500 applications for TIGER I grants nationwide. The TIGER I requests were for almost $60 billion worth of projects, 40 times the $1.5 billion available under that program. TIGER I dollars were made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“These are innovative, 21st century projects that will change the U.S. transportation landscape by strengthening the economy and creating jobs, reducing gridlock and providing safe, affordable, and environmentally sustainable transportation choices,” said Secretary LaHood. “Many of these projects could not have been funded without this program.”
Roughly 29 percent of TIGER II money goes for road projects, 26 percent for transit, 20 percent for rail projects, 16 percent for ports, 4 percent for bicycle and pedestrian projects, and 5 percent for planning projects.
Examples of projects funded include the following:
• $47.6 million to the city of Atlanta to construct a new streetcar line connecting many of the most important downtown residential, cultural, educational, and historic centers.
• $20 million to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to replace the deteriorating Memorial Bridge that connects Portsmouth, N.H., with Kittery, Maine. The bridge is at the end of its service life and has a bridge sufficiency rating of six out of 100. Safety concerns recently required a maximum 3-ton weight restriction on the bridge, causing all truck traffic to be detoured.
• $546 million for a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line, a key piece of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30/10 initiative to construct 12 major transit projects in 10 years rather than 30.
Under TIGER II, more than $140 million is reserved for projects in rural areas.
As a competitive program, TIGER II is able to fund the best projects from around the country. Using merit-based evaluation criteria allows the Department of Transportation to address some of the nation’s most critical challenges like sustainability and economic competitiveness.
This marks the first time that the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have joined together in awarding grants for localized planning activities that, ultimately, lead to projects that integrate transportation, housing, and urban development.
On Labor Day, President Barack Obama revealed plans for a comprehensive infrastructure investment plan that would be front-loaded with $50 billion for infrastructure investment. (See the October 2010 Aggregates Manager Digital Edition article, “Is Obama’s $50 billion infrastructure plan just a shot of adrenaline?” at http://www.digitalmagazinetechnology.com/a/?KEY=aggregatesmanager-10-10october#page=5.)
TIGER II grants were awarded to projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or metropolitan area. The U.S. DOT also gave priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate rapid increases in economic activity.
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