U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the availability of $474 million for a fifth round of the highly successful TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) competitive grant program to fund surface transportation projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or metropolitan area.
"President Obama has challenged us to make sure our nation’s transportation infrastructure is up to the job of attracting and supporting businesses and the families that rely on them," said LaHood. "TIGER 2013 will contribute to increased mobility for people and freight, and economic growth by helping to improve existing and develop new transportation facilities that will strengthen our competitiveness and create jobs."
Projects eligible for TIGER grants include highways and bridges, public transportation, passenger and freight rail transportation and marine port infrastructure investments. Grants may range in size from $10 million to $200 million. Grants to rural areas may be for less than $10 million, but must be more than $1 million. No less than $120 million must be awarded to projects in rural areas.
The four previous rounds of TIGER provided $3.1 billion to support 218 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, with more than 4,050 applicants requesting more than $105.2 billion over the previous rounds.
More than 100 of the TIGER grants were awarded directly to city or county governments that are otherwise unable to directly access traditional sources of Federal funding for their projects. Similarly, more than 19 TIGER grants were awarded directly to port authorities, and eight to tribal governments. TIGER also has helped catalyze 11 multi-state projects, which would have been difficult to advance through Federal formula programs.
The FY 2013 Appropriations Act requires that TIGER funds be obligated before Oct. 1, 2014. The limited amount of time means the department will give priority to projects that are ready to proceed quickly. In addition to project readiness, primary selection criteria include improving the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems; contributing to the economic competitiveness of the United States and creating and preserving jobs; increasing transportation choices and access to transportation services for people in communities across the United States; improving energy efficiency, reducing dependence on oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and improving safety.