DOT receives 1,400 TIGER grant applications

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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday, Sept. 25, that the agency received nearly 1,400 applications from all 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia vying for a share of $1.5 billion DOT will award for innovative transportation projects that show significant economic and environmental promise for the nation, a region or metropolitan area.

The TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program was created by Congress to finance significant performance-driven projects and those that involve multiple jurisdictions or modes. The TIGER program focuses on longer-term strategic infrastructure development along with the Economic Recovery Act’s primary focus on immediate job creation.

“We have received an outpouring of creative and innovative transportation project proposals from across the country, and we are excited to get started,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says. “Through the TIGER grants, we will begin to seriously address the 21st century transportation challenges of improving our environment, the livability of our communities, enhancing safety while strengthening our economy.”

Of the $57 billion in TIGER grants requested, more than half of the applications are for highway or bridge projects, with the rest of the applications focusing on transit, railroad, port infrastructure, multimodal or other investments.

DOT says it has designed a rigorous evaluation process that will require projects seeking more than $100 million in federal funds to undertake an economic benefit-cost analysis that will consider factors such as fuel and travel time savings, carbon emissions reductions, and economic and public health benefits. DOT says it also will use a cross-modal evaluation process where teams from each of the major modes – highways, transit, rail, maritime and aviation – will work together evaluating a broad cross-section of projects.

Grants may be awarded to state and local governments, including U.S. territories, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations, tribal governments and multistate or multijurisdictional applicants. Projects selected will be announced as soon as possible, but no later than Feb. 17, 2010.