After another fierce funding competition, the Dept. of Transportation has awarded $584 million to highway, bridge, rail, port, pedestrian-safety and other projects in the latest round of its TIGER grant program.
The sixth Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program awards, which DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on Sept. 12, went to 72 projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
As in the past five TIGER rounds, the volume of requests for federal money far exceeded the amount DOT had available to distribute. In the latest competition, the department got 797 applications, seeking a total of $9 billion.
Foxx told reporters in a conference call that, in terms of the dollars awarded, the new TIGER round’s “acceptance rate was lower than Dartmouth’s.”
The 2013 round garnered 585 applications, requesting more than $9 billion.
Foxx said that, of the $584 million awarded this year, 47% went to highway projects; 27% to transit; 12.7% to maritime and 11.5% to rail.
The TIGER aid is combined with other funding to cover a project’s total cost and will help pay for projects' construction or planning.
The largest individual grants were $25 million each for a new $158.5-million bridge across the Piscataqua River, between Maine and New Hampshire, and New York City’s $52.8-million “Vision Zero” program, which involves street work to improve pedestrian and bicycler safety.
Other major awards included $24.9 million for a $49.8-million bus rapid-transit project in the Richmond, Va., area, and $24 million for a $39-million parkway widening in eastern Kentucky.
Foxx also mentioned a $20-million TIGER grant for an expansion of a commuter rail platform at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s intermodal Ruggles Station, in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.
He said the $30-million project will help more people travel to and from a neighborhood in which some 15.7 million sq ft of development is underway; further, the project has the potential of creating 23,000 jobs.
Foxx also noted that this year's TIGER-award dollars were almost evenly split between "red" and "blue" congressional districts.
A U.S. Government Accountability Office report, released in May, criticized DOT for failing to document important decisions in its fifth TIGER grant round. Foxx said DOT has adopted changes in its TIGER grant processes to address GAO’s findings.