Transportation investments spur private development in downtown Kent, Ohio


Architect’s rendering of proposed Kent Central Gateway. Image via Kent State University.

When the federal government invests in infrastructure, the funds directly help communities with large, long-term projects. But these investments go beyond direct help: when the government invests in an area, private developers often follow its lead and invest as well. In doing so, these federal investments have an even bigger impact.

Downtown Kent, Ohio, is a great example of this. After many public meetings to create a vision for the city’s future, Kent is transforming its downtown into a vibrant public space. A $20 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities) has helped the town build a new multimodal transportation facility – and the city is now experiencing over $100 million in related development.

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Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Bill Moves to Senate Floor [UPDATE]

UPDATE OCT. 31, 2011: No amendments were offered to cut funding for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities programs at either the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Department of Transportation. The Senate is back from recess this week and is expected to vote on passage.

The following was originally posted on October 13, 2011:

The Senate begins consideration this week of three annual appropriations bills. With the 2012 fiscal year already underway and only one of the twelve appropriations bills approved so far, funding for the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration; Commerce, Justice, and Science; and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) bills will be taken up as a package. The federal government is currently operating on a temporary spending measure that expires on November 18th.

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Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Bill Moves to Senate Floor

The Senate begins consideration this week of three annual appropriations bills. With the 2012 fiscal year already underway and only one of the twelve appropriations bills approved so far, funding for the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration; Commerce, Justice, and Science; and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) bills will be taken up as a package. The federal government is currently operating on a temporary spending measure that expires on November 18th.

The THUD bill includes funding for the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Specifically, $90 million for the Department of Housing’s Sustainable Communities Initiative and $550 million for the Department of Transportation’s TIGER program.

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Senate votes to preserve funding for Partnership for Sustainable Communities programs

Washington, DC – The Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development voted today to preserve funding for two key components of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities in the FY2012 appropriations bill. Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson released the following statement:

“The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is helping dozens of communities across the country grow in ways that support their local economies and are fiscally responsible. We applaud the Senate for protecting these innovative, effective programs.

“The Partnership’s programs are helping small towns rebuild their main street, and they’re helping mid-sized cities improve their business districts. These projects are rebuilding roads, renovating abandoned properties, creating pedestrian friendly downtowns and dozens of other worthwhile projects that will help American communities recover from the economic downturn and stay strong in the coming decades. We strongly encourage Congress to approve funding for these critical programs.”

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USDOT now accepting TIGER grant pre-applications

The pre-application period for this year’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants is now open. Pre-applications are a mandatory first step in the TIGER application process. All potential applicants submit material to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) prior to submitting a final application through the federal grants portal. Full information about the process and the pre-application itself can be found at www.dot.gov/tiger. The deadline for this required first step is October 3, 2011.

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"TIGER and Rural America Part 2" webinar materials now online

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Sustainable Communities Network’s recent webinar, “TIGER Grants and Rural America, Part 2.” The webinar was the result of a collaborative effort between Smart Growth America, Reconnecting America, the National Association of Development Organizations, Policy Link, the American Public Transportation Association, the National League of Cities, Rural Assembly, and Transportation for America to provide rural communities with the necessary tools and technical assistance to help advance superior TIGER projects.

Materials from last week’s webinar are now available online. The webinar includes strategies and lessons on how to submit competitive TIGER applications, with tips from both the funding agency as well grant writers and political leaders who have brought millions of dollars to their own communities. Learn what distinguishes an outstanding grant application from all other eligible applications and understand how to write a successful TIGER grant. Gain in-depth knowledge on what is needed to conduct a Benefit-Cost Analysis, an integral part of the TIGER application. Become familiar with the selection criteria and learn how to successfully position your project with regional partnerships. And for prospective applicants, learn about next steps and where to get additional resources and help.

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Upcoming Webinar: TIGER Grants and Rural America Part II

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced a new grant opportunity for rural communities across the country. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program is a great opportunity for rural communities to leverage federal funds for local transportation projects. To help communities apply to these very competitive grants, the American Public Transportation Association, the National Association of Development Organizations, the National League of Cities, PolicyLink, Reconnecting America, Rural Assembly, Smart Growth America, and Transportation for America have joined together to encourage rural communities to submit superior applications for this funding.

If you plan to apply for this year’s round of TIGER grants or wish to learn more about the program and the application process, join us for a webinar on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 2:00 PM EDT. The webinar will build on the overview provided by our first webinar in this series, which took place earlier in August, by exploring in-depth the various aspects of the TIGER application process.

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Upcoming webinar series from USDOT on TIGER grants provide answers from the source

In anticipation of the pre-application system for TIGER grants opening on August 22nd, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is offering a series of special topic webinars that delve into various aspects of the TIGER application process. These webinars will be a great resource for anyone either considering applying to TIGER this year or actually preparing a TIGER application, as the webinars come from the funding source and share the expertise of USDOT to prospective applicants.

All interested parties are strongly encouraged to attend. The webinars listed below will be held from 1:00-2:30 PM EDT. There are no registration fees for these sessions, but SPACE IS LIMITED. Advance registration is required and available by clicking on the webinar topic listed below.

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TIGER Webinar shares important insights for rural communities

A webinar on August 3rd entitled “TIGER Grants and Rural America” explained in detail a valuable funding source for rural communities seeking to improve their transportation network. Rural communities face unique challenges such as maintaining their small town character while encouraging economic growth, and less density often precludes certain types of transportation projects. Additionally, rural communities are often faced with limited capacity compared to the resources of larger areas. A key take-away from the webinar, though, is that rural communities can use TIGER grants to overcome these challenges and implement innovative and job-creating transportation projects.

TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants are discretionary grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation that fund capital improvement in surface transportation projects. Two prior rounds of TIGER have already allocated over $2 billion to communities across the nation and a third round of $527 million has just been announced. As highlighted in the webinar, rural communities can benefit from the TIGER program in the following ways:

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"TIGER and Rural America" webinar materials now online

Thank you to all the participants of the recent webinar “TIGER Grants and Rural America.” The webinar is the result of a collaborative effort between Smart Growth America, Reconnecting America, the National Association of Development Organizations, Policy Link, the American Public Transportation Association, the National League of Cities, Rural Assembly, and Transportation for America to provide rural communities with the necessary tools and technical assistance to help advance superior TIGER projects.

Included on this webinar are strategies and lessons on how to submit competitive TIGER applications from both the funding agency as well as prior successful grant recipients. First is an overview of the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program for rural projects from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation that highlights how to compete for a TIGER grant as well as important deadlines and eligibility requirements for applicants. This is followed by an exploration of rural TIGER projects that support strong economies and livable communities, helping to show the usefulness of the TIGER program to rural America. Finally, an in-depth case study from a past TIGER grant recipient provides first-hand knowledge of how to submit a successful application.

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