U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) will provide $500 million for 39 transportation projects in 34 states, some projects spanning several states, from its TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2015 program. This year rural areas received 43% of the project awards, a higher percentage than any previous year.
The U.S. DOT received 627 eligible applications from 50 states and several U.S. territories, including Tribal governments, requesting 20 times the $500 million available for the program, or $10.1 billion for needed transportation projects.
“Transportation is always about the future. If we're just fixing today's problems, we'll fall further and further behind. We already know that a growing population and increasing freight traffic will require our system to do more," said Secretary Foxx. “In this round of TIGER, we selected projects that focus on where the country’s transportation infrastructure needs to be in the future; ever safer, ever more innovative, and ever more targeted to open the floodgates of opportunity across America.”
Projects funded through this round of TIGER support several key transportation goals:
Connecting Communities to Opportunities: In selecting projects, Secretary Foxx prioritized the extent to which the proposed project strengthens access to opportunities through transportation improvements. The U.S. DOT seeks to enhance long-term employment opportunities for all Americans by investing in transportation projects that better connect communities to centers of employment, education and services, especially in economically distressed areas. Examples include:
- A $20 million grant to develop a new 15-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line in Birmingham, Ala., connecting Birmingham’s residents, especially low-income citizens, to employment centers, educational opportunities, and community services.
- A $15 million grant to more than double the existing streetcar system in Tacoma, Washington, better connecting the downtown to major employment, medical, education, and other institutions.
Improving Safety: To make the U.S. transportation system the safest in the world, U.S. DOT strives to improve public health and safety by reducing transportation-related fatalities and injuries. TIGER grantees include projects that improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and rail-highway grade crossings, and upgrade deteriorating infrastructure. Examples include:
- A $1 million grant to help complete a bike and pedestrian network in the Pueblo of Laguna, N.M., creating safe bicycle and pedestrian access linking economic centers to residential areas and serving as the catalyst to the revitalization of the traditional village areas of the Pueblo of Laguna.
- A $16.9 million grant to convert Dixie Highway in Louisville, Ky. to a BRT corridor to better connect the southwest part of the city to jobs, social services, education, and medical care along the corridor, including safer options for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Supporting Innovation: The U.S. DOT is bullish about supporting innovation in transportation solutions. Meeting the challenges of tomorrow will require not only higher levels of investment in maintaining and expanding our infrastructure, but supporting the integration of technology that can maximize transportation assets and potentially deliver game-changing safety and efficiency enhancements. In this round of TIGER, the department invested in efforts to advance innovation. Examples include:
- A $6.8 million grant to assist in the development and deployment of technology for fixed and demand-response transit operators in rural transit service areas across rural Ohio.
This is the seventh TIGER round since 2009, bringing the total grant amount to $4.6 billion provided to 381 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including 134 projects to support rural and tribal communities.