LaHood: TIGER discretionary grants to target major-impact projects, jobs

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday, May 15, announced the availability of $1.5 billion in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grants for capital investment in surface transportation projects. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or metropolitan area and can create jobs and benefit economically distressed areas.

“TIGER discretionary funding will open up the door to many new innovative and cutting-edge transportation projects,” LaHood says. “This is exciting news, and I believe that these projects will promote greater mobility, a cleaner environment and more livable communities.”

The grants can range from $20 million up to $300 million to support high-impact transportation projects. LaHood can waive the minimum grant requirement for beneficial projects in smaller cities, regions or states. The U.S. Department of Transportation will require rigorous economic justifications for projects more than $100 million. To ensure responsible spending, the department will require all fund recipients to report on their activities on a routine basis.

The solicitation published in the Federal Register provides clear criteria for the department to make merit-based decisions on the new discretionary program. Applications for TIGER discretionary grants must be submitted by Sept. 15 from state and local governments, including U.S. territories, tribal governments, transit agencies, port authorities and others. Comments on the criteria must be received by June 1.

Primary selection criteria include contributing to the medium- to long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improving the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, improving the quality of living and working environments through livable communities, improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the safety of U.S. transportation facilities. USDOT also will give priority to projects that are expected to quickly create and preserve jobs and stimulate rapid increases in economic activity, especially projects that will benefit economically distressed areas.