Following President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address for greater infrastructure investment, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Jan. 31 the availability of funding for transportation projects under a fourth round of the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program. TIGER 2012 will make $500 million available for surface transportation projects having a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or region.
On Nov. 18, 2011, the President signed the FY 2012 Appropriations Act, which provided $500 million for U.S. DOT infrastructure investments. Like the first three rounds, TIGER 2012 grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis.
Overall the TIGER program has provided $2.6 billion to 172 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous three rounds, the U.S. DOT received more than 3,348 applications requesting more than $95 billion for transportation projects across the country.
“President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address that investing in transportation means putting people back to work, and that’s just what our TIGER program is doing in communities across the country,” said LaHood. “Americans are demanding investments in highways, ports, commuter rail, streetcars, buses, and high-speed rail. These kinds of projects not only mean a stronger economic future for the U.S., but jobs for Americans today.”
As in previous rounds, high-speed rail and intercity passenger rail projects remain eligible for funding. TIGER 2012 provides for the possibility of up to $100 million being used toward these projects, and also will continue to encourage the development of transportation projects in rural areas, providing $120 million for rural transportation projects.
Projects will be evaluated on primary criteria that include safety, economic competitiveness, livability, environmental sustainability, state of repair and short-term job creation.
Pre-applications are due Feb. 20 and applications are due March 19.