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USDOT Announces $1.5 Billion in TIGER Grants – $60M in TIFIA Allocations

Posted in Financing, Legislation, Policy

USDOT Announces $1.5 Billion in TIGER Grants – $60M in TIFIA Allocations

On February 17, the one year anniversary of the landmark American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, USDOT announced the final list of TIGER grant recipients. Grants range in size from $3.15M for a roadway rehabilitation/reconstruction in Burlington, VT to a $105M grant for construction of two new intermodal facilities in Memphis, TN and Birmingham, AL to support freight rail service from the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic.

When combined with state and private funds, the TIGER funds will support approximately $4 billion in transportation investment, according to AASHTO, which estimates that States have already started or completed 12,250 recovery projects worth $26.4 billion.  

Shortly after releasing the final list of grantees, USDOT released a statement outlining key areas for investment, which included:

  • Freight Rail: 11 national freight projects to help get freight off America’s highways and onto rail.
  • Road and Bridge Repair: 13 highway infrastructure projects to make critical repairs to roads and bridges that are in dire condition.
  • Community Livability: 22 livability projects aimed at giving Americans more choices about how they travel and improving access to economic and housing opportunities in their communities.

These investments may be signaling a shift in federal policy, and build upon the HUD-EPA-DOT partnership to promote livability and sustainability which the Obama Administration announced last June. Each project was evaluated for its ability to help achieve the following goals:

  • A state of good repair for our existing transportation facilities;
  • Enhanced economic competitiveness;
  • Safer streets and communities;
  • Environmental sustainability; and
  • Enhanced community livability.

The Administration seems to be applying these principles to other discretionary programs as well, notably the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which received $60M in new funding under the TIGER grant program, nearly half of the $122M annual apportionment it had been receiving under SAFETEA-LU.

Five grantees will be eligible for the TIGER TIFIA Payment program, which allows grantees to pay the subsidy and administrative costs of the TIFIA credit assistance program using TIGER grant funds.

The TIFIA TIGER payments will be leveraged with state and other funds to support several larger projects. The largest of these grants – $20M allocated to the North Texas Toll Authority for improvements to a high-growth corridor near Dallas-Ft. Worth – could support a federal loan of approximately $300-$400M.

TIFIA Eligible Grantee Project / Cost TIGER Funding:
North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) State Highway 161

$1.3 billion

$20M to support a direct TIFIA loan of approximately $400M.
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) I-85 Corridor Improvement and Yadkin River Crossing

~$374 -$461M

$10M with optional innovative financing enhancements to support a direct loan for up to one-third ($125 -$154M) of the project costs
South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) I-95 Interchange & Access Project

$360M

$10M with optional innovative financing enhancements to support a direct loan for up to one-third ($120M) of the project costs
Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) Bella Vista Bypass

$358.1M

$10M with optional innovative financing enhancements to support a direct loan for up to one-third ($119M) of the project costs
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) U.S. 36 Managed Lanes/Bus Rapid Transit

~ $160 – $260M

$10M with optional innovative financing enhancements to support a direct loan for up to one-third ($53 -$87M) of the project costs

The TIGER TIFIA allocation fell short of the statutory cap, which would have allowed USDOT to apply up to $200M of the TIGER funds to federal credit assistance. In the past year, competition for TIFIA funds has intensified and USDOT has reinstated the competitive application process it abandoned in 2002.