The hunt is on for a share of the US Dept. of Transportation's $1.5 billion in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery--"TIGER"--discretionary grants. The new program was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and it's aimed at projects that are "game-changers"--or, in the words of the economic-stimulus statute, "projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area or a region."
Applications were due on Sept. 15. There's no official count yet from US DOT of how many applications it received or dollars sought. But ENR's preliminary tally--based on reports received from about 25 states--shows requests totaling more than $9.6 billion, far outpacing the amount that DOT can award.
Engineering and construction firms will be waiting anxiously to see which projects DOT will select. Secretary Ray LaHood, whose department came up with the TIGER name, plans to announce the winners in January, a month earlier than the Feb. 17 deadline Congress set in the ARRA law.
A tip of the ENR hard hat to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials spokesman Tony Dorsey, who kindly forwarded my request for information to all the state DOTs. Thanks also to the state DOT public information officials who sent responses, as well as to Progressive Railroading, which posted an early story on its web page last week listing some of the states' TIGER proposals for rail projects.
ENR's $9.6-billion figure is almost surely low. For one thing, I've yet to hear from more than 20 states. In addition, cities, counties and other jurisdictions are eligible to apply for the TIGER money. ENR counts an application from the City of Atlanta, for example, which is seeking $298.3 milion for a light-rail project. In Missouri, 15 counties, cities or other entities applied for TIGER grants, as well as the state's DOT. And in California, Caltrans says it knows of 83 applications from jurisdictions within the Golden State. Caltrans did submit some applications itself, but most of the 83 are from other localities in the state. Nevertheless, there probably are TIGER applications from many other U.S. localities that our count is missing.
Confusing things a bit further, pairs or groups of states are combining to seek funds for multi-state projects. For example, Pennsylvania is applying as lead state for a five-state group, seeking a total of $300 million for new intermodal terminals and track improvements along portions of the Crescent Corridor freight rail network, which runs from New Jersey to Louisiana.
The maximum TIGER grant amount is $300 million per project. In addition, no state's total TIGER grants can exceed $300 million.
States are seeking TIGER money across a range of transportation modes. Many of the individual items are major highway and bridge projects. According to reports ENR has received so far, here's a list of large projects contained in the applications:
Alabama: $200 million for U.S. 280 elevated roadway, Birmingham area
Arizona: $98 million to reconstruct the Arizona Eastern Railway, which runs from Bowie to Miami.
California: $42 million to replace Heim Bridge and build a new elevated State Route 47 Expressway in Los Angeles.
Colorado: $160 million to $260 million to construct part of the first phase of improvements in the U.S. Route 36 corridor from Denver to Boulder.
District of Columbia: $158.5 million, part of package of Priority Bus Transit projects, including K Street Transitway.
Florida: $98.7 million for improved I-75 and local road links to Southwest Florida International Airport in Lee County.
Illinois: $300 million for the "CREATE" program of rail and highway improvements in the Chicago area.
Iowa: $143.4 million, for U.S. 34-U.S. 75 Missouri River connector, including new Missouri River bridge, reconstruction of section of U.S. 75 in Nebraska and upgrade to I-29/U.S. 34 interchange.
Kansas: $87.5 million for a 10.5-mile U.S. Route 54 bypass around Kingman.
Maine (with New Hampshire): $70 million for improvements to Memorial Bridge over the Piscataqua River.
Maryland: $58 million for road improvements near three military installations slated for expansion under the current Base Realignment and Closure round.
Missouri: $200 million to construct up to 30 miles of dedicated truck lanes on I-70 in Saline and Cooper counties.
North Carolina: $300 million for improvements to the I-85 corridor between Rowan and Davidson counties, including new bridge over the Yadkin River.
Ohio: $90 million to improve Interstate 70/71 in Columbus.
Oklahoma: $95 million for I-244 bridge over Arkansas River.
Pennsylvania (with Va., Ala., Miss., Tenn.), $300 million in rail improvements (intermodal terminals, track improvements, etc.) along Crescent Corridor, which runs from New Jersey to Louisiana
Rhode Island: $80 million for first two phases of a replacement for the Providence Viaduct Bridge on I-95.
Tennessee: $98 million for I-69 corridor project in Obion County.
Texas: $211.2 million, for I-35, highway expansion, from Lacy Lakeview, Texas, to West, Texas (near Waco).
Vermont: $65 million for an intelligent-transportation system fiber optic network..
Washington: $300 million for the state route 520 bridge replacement program in King County.
Wyoming: $100 million for statewide network of wildlife-crossing underpasses and overpasses.
Here are the TIGER grant requests for states (and District of Columbia, City of Atlanta) reporting to ENR as of Sept. 23, 4 pm. (Most totals exclude applications from cities, counties, etc.):
State Amount (in millions of dollars)
North Carolina 300.0
Pennsylvania (lead for 5-state group) 300.0
National Capital Region (Washington, DC, two other jurisdictions) 266.7
Rhode Island 80.0
Maine-New Hampshire 70.0
City of Atlanta 298.3
*State DOT estimate, includes some, but possibly not all, applications from local government agencies. Caltrans says most TIGER applications from California came from various jurisdictions, not from Caltrans itself.
**Missouri DOT applied for $200 million. Other cities,counties, port authorities, etc. in the state filed total of 15 applications, seeking total of $612.2 million.
****Colorado is requesting range of federal TIGER aid for Denver-Boulder corridor, includes extension of HOV/HOT lanes, bus rapid transit service and connection to a bikeway
*****Joint Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee proposal for Appalachian Regional Short Line Project