TIGER grant funding remains in demand
June 13, 2013
When it comes to transportation, the TIGER continues to roar.
Let me back up a bit. I am not referring to the type of TIGER you may find out in the wild. Instead, I am referring to a tamer one in the form of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.
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.
Selection criteria for TIGER grants includes: contributing to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation; improving the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems; improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions; improving the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and improving the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections.
As has been the case in recent years, the demand for TIGER funding remains on the rise.
That becomes clear to see especially when considering that the DOT says applications for 2013 TIGER grants total more than $9 billion, which crushes the $474 million DOT has allocated for it.
DOT said that it received 568 applications from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa.
This becomes even more impressive when you consider that the most recent requests for TIGER funding basically triple the $3.1 billion in funding doled out in the previous four rounds, which went towards 218 projects. It is also worth noting, as DOT points out, that during the previous four rounds, DOT received more than 4,500 applications for TIGER, which cumulatively requesting north of $105.2 billion for national transportation projects.
President Obama challenged us to improve our nation’s infrastructure to provide the transportation choices people and businesses want and the efficiency and safety they need,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement. “TIGER projects do exactly that – across the country, they are helping relieve congestion, create jobs and generate lasting economic growth.”
William Schroeer, state policy director for Smart Growth America, told LM in a previous interview that the TIGER freight-related projects—especially the rail-focused projects—provide myriad benefits for freight transportation and logistics industry stakeholders.
“The freight-related projects will create more options—especially the option of getting freight off the roads and into trains,” said Schroeer. “But the rail freight projects didn’t make the cut in the intensely competitive TIGER program because they benefit shippers and providers. These projects made the cut because they will create so many different kinds of benefits, such as reduced road congestion, reduced pollution, and reduced road maintenance needs.”
And Mort Downey, senior advisor at infrastructure firm Parsons-Brinkerhoff, said in order for these projects to be considered successful, they ultimately need to deliver.
“These grants are important on the job creation front and even more importation on the long-term economic growth front—particularly for the freight projects,” noted Downey. “The freight projects in particular have very large cost-benefit potential and are largely focused on shippers in terms of supply chain efficiency and reducing inventories and [transit time] delays. A lot of these projects were ‘partnership projects’ between entities like railroads and ports, and TIGER money acted as the closer to make these deals work.”
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