Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave out $600 million in grants for innovative transportation projects across the country that address economic, environmental and travel issues at once.
The TIGER program, as its known, (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) is a competitive and merit-based process to pick innovative transportation projects from across the country. The winning applications covered everything from port improvements to bridge replacement and new multimodal transit hubs, with an eye toward repairing existing assets, enhancing economic competitiveness, enhancing livability, reducing dependence on foreign oil and benefitting the environment and making Americans safer.
In two batches in February and October 2010, USDOT gave out a total of $2.1 billion for innovative transportation projects that address economic, environmental and travel issues at once. The TIGER program, as its known (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery), is a competitive and merit-based process to pick projects and should be a model for next transportation authorization.
“Almost all of these projects have two things in common,” said T4 America director James Corless. ”They will all create desperately-needed jobs while building critical transportation infrastructure, and they have a hard time getting funded under the outdated structure of the current federal transportation program. These projects in communities across the country will create good paying jobs, spur local economic development, and keep our metro and rural areas connected. The administration is responding to the demand for funding that can help make communities of all sizes more livable, more competitive and more connected.”
Project applications had to show multiple benefits, with priority given to these criteria: 1) that projects improve the condition of existing facilities and systems, 2) contribute to the economic competitiveness of the U.S. over the medium- to long-term, 3) improve the quality of living and working environments for people, 4) improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit the environment, and 5) improve public safety.
U.S. DOT received overwhelming demand for the limited amount of money, receiving more than 2,400 applications totaling nearly $79 billion for just a $2.1 billion pot between the two rounds of funding. ($1.5 billion came from the stimulus, and $600 million from the DOT budget.)