The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is making headway in moving "TIGER" grants awarded early last year closer to actual construction.

U.S. DOT announced on Dec. 29 that it had signed agreements with the Alabama and Tennessee DOTs on a $105-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant for two intermodal freight facilities along the Norfolk Southern Corp.'s "Crescent Corridor". DOT release.

Of the $105-million grant, half will go to Alabama to help finance a $97.5-million, 261-acre regional facility near McCalla, about 20 miles southwest of Birmingham. Norfolk Southern (NS) and other sources will fund the remainder of the project's total cost.

The other half of the TIGER grant will go to Tennessee for a $105-million, 380-acre intermodal complex near Rossville, about 27 miles east of Memphis. The rest of the project's funds will come from Norfolk Southern and other sources.

Norfolk Southern plans to seek bids soon for the Tennessee project, probably by the end of February, says NS spokesman Robin Chapman. A bid notice for the Alabama project will come later, but Chapman says he cannot provide a time frame yet.

The Crescent Corridor stretches 2,500 miles, from Louisiana to New Jersey.

In addition, U.S. DOT said on Dec. 30 that it had signed an agreement with the New Jersey DOT and city of Philadelphia on a $23-million TIGER grant for "urban street trails" in Philadelphia and nearby Camden County, N.J. DOT release.

Of the grant total, Philadelphia will receive $17.2 million and Camden County $5.8 million for a $54.8-million network of pedestrian and bike trails.

The grant program was created under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and U.S. DOT gave the program the TIGER name.

The Alabama-Tennessee and New Jersey-Philadelphia grants are among 51 TIGER awards that U.S. DOT announced in February 2010. Link:

Winners in a $600-million second round of TIGER grants were announced on Oct. 20. That round was funded through DOT's regular appropriations.