Multitude of Unfunded TIGER Grant Applications Points to Need for Continued Funding

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. Now in its fourth round, the program remains critically underfunded. DOT received 703 applications, totaling $10.2 billion in requests. Out of those, only 47 projects were selected to receive a total of close to $500 million.

A handful of the many opportunities that will go unmet:

Franklin County, Missouri Bridge in State of Disrepair
The County did not receive the $13.5 million it sought to repair the 96 year old Bend Bridge, which was rated a 2 on a sufficiency scale of 0-100 at last inspection.

The total project is estimated to cost $14.5 million. With that sort of price tag, county officials know they’ll need help from the state or federal governments — or both. “Bend Bridge has been an issue talked about for years,” Commissioner Terry Wilson said previously. Replacing the bridge is the county’s No. 1 priority.

Port misses out on another round of federal funding
A plan to expand and upgrade the state pier at the Port of New Hampshire’s Market Street Terminal failed to receive TIGER grant funding.

“It’s a tough situation,” said Port Director Geno Marconi. Infrastructure at the Market Street Terminal is old, and has required “band-aids” over the years. “We’re doing everything we can to keep it functional. We’ve had to change some of our operations to work around our physical deficiencies.”

Passed over again: Feds say no to funds for Neponset Greenway trail
The proposed Massachusetts project would have helped complete a trail from South Boston to the Blue Hills and built a pedestrian bridge at the Mattapan MBTA train station.

[Department of Conservation and Recreation] Commissioner Edward Lambert said the department is disappointed, but the volume and quality of applications for the TIGER grant program was high. “It’s a project that brings so many benefits to the communities and neighborhoods in terms of connections”.

Freight rail upgrade for area on hold
The proposed upgrading of New England Central Railroad tracks in the New London area will have to wait, now that the federal government has rejected a request for $10.5 million in grants to fund rail improvement projects in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“It was a disappointment that we didn’t get it,” said Todd O’Donnell, co-owner of New London’s Union Station. The projects would have jump-started the process of upgrading outdated tracks between New London and Palmer, Mass., to accommodate freight cars that are up to modern standards. The current maximum load for freight cars in southeastern Connecticut is 263,000 pounds, while the national standard is 286,000 pounds.

Daytona Beach wasn’t chosen for money from federal grant to help improve road
Daytona Beach misses out on federal funding to reconstruct Orange Avenue. The current infrastructure under Orange Avenue contributes to flooding in the area during heavy rainstorms.

Daytona Beach officials were disappointed to learn recently that for the fourth time they will not be receiving a $13.2 million federal grant requested to pay for the reconstruction of Orange Avenue, which runs through the heart of the city and its Black community. [Hardy] Smith, [Government Relations Administrator], said Orange Avenue is the city’s number one infrastructure project and Daytona will continue looking for other sources of revenue.

Tuscaloosa’s CityWalk trail misses out again in bid for federal TIGER grant funds
The CityWalk greenway trail in Tuscaloosa, Alabama will go unfunded after the city misses out on a TIGER grant.

City officials applied this year for the second time, seeking help toward the $23 million cost of the public portion of CityWalk, which is planned to connect Rosedale Park and Jaycee Park along a 5.5-mile path in the April 27, 2011, tornado recovery zone. “We are still planning to apply in the future, and that depends on when the TIGER grant program has funds available,” said Meredith Lynch, public relations coordinator for the city’s Incident Command team.

The TIGER grant program is part of the federal interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Future rounds of TIGER grants were not funded in the House of Representatives’ Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations bill. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Regional Planning and Community Challenge grant programs, also a part of the Partnership, similarly received no funding.