The US Department of Transportation has announced $1.5 billion in funds through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Program, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Freight projects competed well in the program, with 22 of the 51 projects (or 43%) containing a strong freight component. Those 22 projects received 49% of the available funds, totaling more than $730 million.
“The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) has been confident that freight projects would compete well in the TIGER Program. This announcement reaffirms that the most effective way to invest in the nation’s multimodal infrastructure is through objective, merit-based criteria,” says Mortimer Downey, chairman of the CAGTC. “These commerce-moving projects create jobs and economic benefit up and down the supply chain, in addition to the immediate job-generating construction.”
Key freight projects that received funding through the program include:
● National Gateway Freight Rail Corridor (OH, PA, WV, MD);
● CREATE Program Projects (IL);
● The Southwestern Regional Intermodal Freight Transportation Hub (IL);
● Crescent Corridor Intermodal Freight Rail Project (TN, AL);
● Port of Gulfport Rail Improvements (MS);
● Alameda Corridor East: Colton Crossing (CA); and,
● US 395 North Spokane Corridor (WA).
Larry “Butch” Brown, executive director of the Mississippi State DOT, congratulated the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport, which was awarded $20 million in TIGER funding. “Mississippi is positioned to become a leading gateway for growing world trade through the Panama Canal expansion, which is scheduled to open in 2014,"” says Brown. “These monies will help improve connectivity through the Port of Gulfport -- Mississippi’s inland and coastal waterways are a vital element of the state’s intermodal transportation system, providing low cost environmentally friendly transportation and industrial development opportunities.”
In debating a new jobs bill, CAGTC continues to encourage Congressional leaders and the Obama Administration to consider appropriating an additional $5 billion investment in the TIGER Program as an immediate opportunity for fast, effective, and meaningful infrastructure investment. The TIGER Program was vastly oversubscribed, leaving many worthy projects without funding from the program.
According to the Administration, “In an overwhelming show of demand for the program, the U.S. Department of Transportation was flooded with more than 1,400 applications from all 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia requesting funding for almost $60 billion worth of projects – 40 times the amount available through the program.”