The Department of Transportation announced that 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico will receive a total of $511 million from the third round of DOT’s TIGER program. The announcement comes months ahead of schedule and will allow communities to move forward with infrastructure projects such as road and bridge improvements; transit upgrades; freight, port and rail expansions; and new options for bicyclists and pedestrians.
DOT received 848 project applications from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, requesting a total of $14.29 billion, far exceeding the $511 million made available for grants under the TIGER III program.
“The overwhelming demand for these grants clearly shows that communities across the country can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to put Americans to work building the transportation projects that are critical to our economic future,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says. “That’s why we’ve taken action to get these grants out the door quickly, and that is why we will continue to ask Congress to make the targeted investments we need to create jobs, repair our nation’s transportation systems, better serve the traveling public and our nation’s businesses, factories and farms, and make sure our economy continues to grow.”
The Port of Long Beach was awarded $17 million to help fund a rail track improvement project that will allow for a shift of more cargo from trucks to trains. The Green Port Gateway project, slated to begin construction in 2012, is expected to create 340 full-time construction related jobs and eliminate nearly 2.3 million truck trips by 2035 from local roadways by improving rail transportation in and out of the port complex.
“This project will not only bring jobs, which are critical during these tough economic times, but also enhance both our region’s and the nation’s long-term economic competitiveness by improving the port’s rail system,” said J. Christopher Lytle, the port’s executive director
In November, President Obama directed DOT to take steps to expedite transportation projects by accelerating the process for review and approval and by leveraging private-sector funding to promote growth and job creation. As part of that initiative, DOT accelerated the TIGER III application review process and has announced the awards before the end of 2011 – months ahead of the planned spring 2012 announcement.