The Department of Transportation just announced the recipients of the $600 million TIGER II grant program. Covering 40 states, the 75 projects announced today address some of the nation’s most critical challenges like sustainability and economic competitiveness.
Not surprisingly, they also address the need for multimodalism and Complete Streets in our communities.
In Peoria, Illinois, a TIGER II grant will fund the design and construction of a Complete Streets network in Peoria’s Downtown Warehouse District – once a thriving commercial activity center that is now under utilized. According to Mayor Jim Ardis, this investment in multimodal, accessible, and safe streets will spur the private development community into action, creating a mixed-use, walkable neighborhood. “It will create much needed jobs during the construction phase, but also hundreds of jobs from the private development resulting from this investment to make a complete, safe, livable street in Peoria. Without these kinds of focused investments from the federal government, local government could not possibly afford to make the same investment.”
In New Haven, Connecticut, State Route 34 will be converted from a limited access highway that cuts the city into pieces into multimodal boulevards that reconnect the street grid. The new construction will be designed according to the city’s recently-adopted Complete Streets Design Guidelines.
Through a planning grant, St. Paul, Minnesota will embark on a citywide survey of its streets and develop new street design guidelines that balance the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit, automobiles, and freight, and help prioritize the projects that should be implemented. Camden, South Carolina, will be able to plan a road diet project that will remake Broad Street into a main street, supportive of economic activity and multiple modes of transportation. And Dahlonega, GA will develop a Complete Streets plan for main corridor that compliments the historic character of community, accommodates of multiple modes of transportation, and improves storm water management.
Many other projects support Complete Streets goals and allow improved, safe access for people who are not traveling by automobile. Complete lists of recipients can be found on the U.S. DOT website: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/dot18810.html
Just like the first round of TIGER grants awarded earlier this year, demand far outpaced supply. U.S. DOT received nearly 1,000 construction grant applications totaling more than $19 billion for the $600 million in available funds – a ratio of $1 to $30.
The success of the TIGER program exemplifies the thirst for a different approach to transportation. President Obama’s recently announced infrastructure investment plan and rumblings at the U.S. DOT of developing more merit-based programs are the first steps in ensuring our federal transportation money encourages vital projects that expand transportation choice for all users.