Transportation funding requests pour in
TIGER grants—the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program—has money available…but not that much!
Intense competition for DOT grant money, which helps to fund roadway, rail, and other transportation projects deemed to have major regional or national impacts, was revealed once again this month.
DOT reported the first week of April that it had received 703 applications, totaling $10.2 billion, for the 2012 round of its TIGER program—way more than the $500 million it has to award. Applications came in from every state plus the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
This most-recent TIGER competition is the fourth since 2009. In the first three rounds, DOT received 3,348 applications totaling requests for more than $95 billion. So far, it has awarded $2.6 billion for 172 projects.
Fourth-round distributions will be announced in the next couple of months, a DOT spokesperson says.
Congress mandated that at least $120 million of the $500 million go to projects in rural areas. The DOT also said it wanted to make available up to $100 million of the total for high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects. But Congress zeroed out DOT high-speed-rail funding in both FY 2011 and 2012.
TIGER money can be used to fund up to 80% of a project’s total cost. The DOT’s fiscal year 2013 budget request to Congress includes $500 million for a continued TIGER-like program.