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.
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.
|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|