The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the latest winners of its popular TIGER grant program, which will provide $474 million for 52 transportation projects nationwide.

The program, now offering its fifth round of funding, has drawn praise for choosing winners on a competitive basis. Most DOT funding is allocated on a formula basis to ensure a degree of equity between the states.

TIGER advocates say the program offers much more targeted and efficient use of federal dollars by picking projects mostly likely to have the greatest impacts in their community.

The biggest winners in the latest round of funding include:

Kansas City -- $20 million for a streetcar project. Atlanta --  $18 million for the Atlanta Beltline Corridor, a system of trails, transit and parks circling downtown. Rochester, N.Y. -- $17.7 million to redevelop an underutilized highway through downtown into a boulevard. Fresno -- $15.9 million for a "complete streets" project through 11 city blocks downtown. Boston -- $15.5 million to reconstruct seven city streets as shared or "complete streets" to include room for pedestrians, bicycles and transit. "These transformational TIGER projects are the best argument for investment in our transportation infrastructure," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.  “Together, they support President Obama’s call to ensure a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing infrastructure, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth."

Unsurprisingly, many of the winners -- including all five of the biggest ones -- embrace things like pedestrian and transit elements. 

Transportation officials say that's no coincidence, since TIGER focuses on giving awards to projects that are multi-modal or multi-jurisdictional, which can make them difficult to fund through more traditional, siloed mechanisms. The Department of Transportation received 585 applications seeking more than $9 billion of funding in the latest round of TIGER.

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In Rochester, for example, the city won TIGER funds that will help pay for a project that's been discussed for more than 25 years, says Erik Frisch, a transportation specialist with the city.

A 1960s-era expressway cuts downtown off from adjacent, densely populated areas. And it doesn't serve its intended purpose, since traffic volume is relatively small compared to its vast size. Meanwhile, the roadway is reaching the end of its useful life.

In short, Frisch, says, it's "unloved and unnecessary." Rather than repair it, the city plans to replace it with a roadway that's smaller, freeing up nine acres of adjacent land for development. The project is being lead by the city of Rochester, but the road is run and maintained by the state transportation department.

In Montana, funding will be used to connect the cities of Missoula and Lolo via a seven-mile bicycle trail parallel of U.S. Route 93 in an effort to link trail networks in the area.

Florida International University, the only school to win funding, is pursuing a project called UniversityCity that seeks to connect the campus to nearby communities via pedestrian improvements and transit.

In the past, there's been some criticism of the program and the way grantees are selected. A Government Accountability Office report has suggested DOT needs to take better steps to document its rationale for selecting some projects.

Some Republicans argue that the discretionary nature of the grants allows the Obama administration to pick projects for political purposes -- at a time when Congress has given up the ability to do its own earmarks.

Thursday's announcement brings the total number of TIGER awards to 238 capital projects (a separate category in the second round of TIGER also included 33 planning grants).

Thursday's announcement brings the total amount of TIGER funds awarded to $3.6 billion.

TIGER Grants

       
State Recipient Project Name Funding
Alaska Village of Alakanuk Alakanuk Community Streets Improvement $2,200,000
Alabama City of Foley Foley Transportation Regional Infrastructure Pedestrian System $4,728,507
Arizona Arkansas DOT Highway 92 Roadway Improvement and Bridge Replacements $4,960,000
Arizona Pima County Port of Tucson: Container Export Rail Facility $5,000,000
California City of Fresno Fulton Mall Reconstruction $15,924,620
California San Diego Association of Governments Pacific Surfliner Coastal Railway Bridges $14,000,000
California Town of Truckee State Route 89 Railroad Undercrossing $1,500,000
Colorado Colorado DOT Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel Fire Suppression $10,000,000
Colorado Town of Windsor Great Western Freight Improvement $2,790,185
Connecticut Connecticut DOT State Street Station Expansion $10,000,000
Delaware Diamond State Port Corporation Rehabilitation of Wharf Unit 1 (Berths 5/6) $10,000,000
Florida Florida DOT South Florida Freight & Passenger Rail Enhancement $13,750,000
Florida Florida International University University City Prosperity Project $11,397,120
Florida Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization Lee County Complete Streets Initiative $10,473,900
Georgia City of Atlanta Southwest Atlanta BeltLine Corridor Trail $18,000,000
Iowa Winneshiek County Northeast Iowa's Livable Rural Communities $1,651,475
Illinois City of Springfield Springfield Rail Improvements $14,400,000
Indiana Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation IndyGo Electric Bus $10,000,000
Indiana Indiana DOT White River Freight Railroad Bridge Replacement $8,245,220
Massachusetts City of Boston Connect Historic Boston $15,523,700
Maryland Maryland Port Administration Port of Baltimore Enhancements $10,000,000
Maine Eastport Port Authority Eastport Breakwater Replacement $6,000,000
Michigan Michigan DOT Kalamazoo to Dearborn Rail Improvements $9,383,036
Minnesota Duluth Seaway Port Authority Port of Duluth Intermodal $10,000,000
Minnesota Minnesota DOT Minnesota Rural Roads ITS $1,457,307
Missouri City of Kansas City Kansas City Downtown Streetcar $20,000,000
Mississippi Jackson County Port Authority Port of Pascagoula Intermodal Improvement $14,000,000
Mississippi Mississippi DOT I-20 Mississippi River Bridge Rehabilitation $4,250,000
Montana Missoula County Missoula to Lolo Trail $4,580,363
North Carolina City of Goldsboro Goldsboro Main Street Revitalization $10,000,000
North Carolina City of Raleigh Raleigh Union Station Phase 1B $10,000,000
New Hampshire New Hampshire DOT New Hampshire Northcoast Rail Corridor Improvements $1,400,000
New Mexico Taos Pueblo Taos Pueblo Veterans Highway $3,290,121
Nevada Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Pelican Point Roads $2,949,513
New York City of Rochester Inner Loop East Reconstruction $17,700,000
New York City of Olean Walkable Olean: Complete Street Transformation $6,500,000
New York Port of Oswego Authority Port of Oswego: East Terminal Intermodal Connector $1,527,000
Oklahoma City of Oklahoma City OKC Intermodal Transportation Hub $13,591,178
Oklahoma Oklahoma DOT Erick to Sayre Freight Railroad Rehabilitation $1,831,000
Oregon Port of Garibaldi Port of Garibaldi Wharf Revitalization $1,474,761
Pennsylvania Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority SEPTA-CSX Separation Project $10,000,000
Rhode Island Rhode Island DOT Apponaug Circulator Improvements $10,000,000
South Dakota Oglala Sioux Tribe Improvements to BIA Route 2 $8,777,960
Tennessee Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority Nashville Transit Signal Priority System $10,000,000
Texas Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Moving Central Texas $11,337,989
Texas Sun Metro Northgate Transfer Center $10,302,054
Texas Port of Houston Authority Port of Houston: Bayport Wharf $10,000,000
Virginia Virginia DOT Delta Frame Bridge $11,957,984
Vermont Vermont DOT Western Corridor Rail Rehabilitation $8,992,007
Washington Sound Transit I-90 Two Way Transit and HOV $14,000,000
Washington Sound Transit Tacoma Trestle Replacement $10,000,000
Wyoming Town of Jackson Jackson Transit Facility $8,000,000

 

  <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/784086/tiger-2013-factsheets-0.pdf" _fcksavedurl="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/784086/tiger-2013-factsheets-0.pdf">TIGER 2013 FactSheet (PDF)</a> <br />