DOT’s TIGER program set to receive sixth round of funding
February 26, 2014
The Department of Transportation (DOT) said today that its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program will make $600 million available to fund United States-based transportation projects.
This news marks the sixth round of TIGER funding, following 2013’s $474 million, which was allocated for 52 transportation projects in 37 states.
The objective of the TIGER program is to ensure that economic funding is rapidly made available for transportation infrastructure projects and that project spending is monitored and transparent. What’s more, TIGER funding leverages money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations, and transit agencies, with DOT noting that the $474 million in 2013 TIGER funding supported $1.8 billion in overall project investments.
DOT said that the 2014 funding “will place an emphasis on projects that support reliable, safe and affordable transportation options that improve connections for both urban and rural communities, making it easier for their residents to reach work, school and other ladders of opportunity.”
But there is a supply chain-related component, too, as DOT explained Congress has provided DOT with the flexibility to use up to $35 million in TIGER funds for planning grants for the first time since 2010, which can be used for regional transportation planning, freight and port planning, among other options.
Since it was established in 2009, TIGER has doled out $3.5 billion for 270 projects in 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. In its previous five rounds, DOT has received more than 5,300 applications for almost $115 billion worth of transportation projects. Funding for this round of TIGER was made available by Congress through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which was signed into law by President Obama in January.
Like previous TIGER funding rounds, this round of TIGER funding comes at a time when transportation infrastructure funding remains, to an extent, in limbo, given the relatively brief duration of the current federal transportation bill, MAP-21, which is set to expire later this year and the Highway Trust Fund, which is insolvent and whose revenues come from the gasoline tax, which has not been raised since 1993.
“TIGER is terribly popular, and there is a growing body of work that shows not only has it been popular but it has also been quite cost-effective for the government when leveraging TIGER with non-federal sources more and more localities are starting to understand the cost benefit approach,” said Leslie Blakey, CAGTC Executive Director, in a recent interview. “TIGER is showing better and better results and DOT has gained experience in managing the program which is resulting in a very high quality of product.”
And TIGER’s future looks bright, too, said Blakey, considering that it is a fairly small program relative to the entire U.S. transportation program, which helps to reduce pressure on Congress when it comes to continue funding it.
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