Foxx details how US$500m in 2016 TIGER grant awards will be spent


US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced that nearly US$500m will be made available for transportation projects across the country in the eighth round of the highly successful and competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.

The latest round of TIGER funding will improve safety and economic opportunity in two US territories, 32 states and 40 communities across the country. The highly competitive TIGER grant program supports innovative projects, including multimodal and multi-jurisdictional projects, which are difficult to fund through traditional federal programs. This year’s awards focus on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided a combined US$5.1bn to 421 projects in all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Native American territories, with the federal funds leveraging additional money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and transit agencies. The 2016 TIGER round alone supports US$1.74bn in overall transportation investments.

Demand for the 2016 TIGER grant program continued to far exceed available funds; the USDOT received 585 eligible applications from all 50 states and several US territories, Native American communities, cities, and towns throughout the USA, collectively requesting over US$9.3bn in funding. During the previous seven rounds, the USDOT received more than 7,300 applications requesting more than US$143bn for transportation projects across the country. A few examples of this year’s TIGER awards include:

• In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the I-579 Cap Urban Connector Project will receive US$19m to construct a cap over a below-grade portion of Interstate 579 in downtown Pittsburgh. The cap will reconnect the Hill District to downtown Pittsburgh, more than 60 years after highway and arena construction razed a middle income African American community. The project includes improvements to nearby streets, sidewalks and crosswalks; a new bus stop, bike-sharing station and ADA-compliant walkways; and the creation of open space for transportation and recreation;

• The city of Brownsville, Texas, will receive US$10m to rehabilitate a regional bus maintenance facility which will also serve as a new passenger transfer station, purchase eight hybrid transit replacement buses, and renovate bus stops to include sidewalks, curb ramps, and benches. The grant will also fund an innovative 2.4-mile (3.8km) causeway that will be one of the longest dedicated pedestrian/bike bridge facilities of its kind in the USA and the first of its kind in Texas.

• Several projects supporting the movement of freight to boost economic competitiveness, such as US$6.2m for an inland port in Little Rock, Arkansas; US$17.7m for a highway freight interchange in Scott County, Minnesota; and US$9.8m for a rural freight project that crosses the North/South Carolina border.

“For the eighth year running, TIGER will inject critical infrastructure dollars into communities across the country,” said Foxx. “This unique program rewards innovative thinking and collaborative solutions to difficult and sometimes dangerous transportation problems. A great TIGER program doesn’t just improve transportation, it expands economic opportunity and transforms a community.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).