The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Monday that it is making $474 million in financing available through its transportation investments grant program pursuant to the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (Pub. L. 113-6, March 26, 2013). The appropriation is similar to the appropriation for the “TIGER” program and USDOT will continue to refer to the program as ‘‘TIGER Discretionary Grants.’’ As with previous rounds of TIGER, funds for the FY 2013 TIGER program will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area or a region.
“President Obama has challenged us to make sure our nation’s transportation infrastructure is up to the job of attracting and supporting businesses and the families that rely on them," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “And because the Appropriations Act that funds TIGER requires that funds be obligated by October 1, 2014, this round of TIGER will be making a difference soon.” To give USDOT enough time to obligate funds by the statutory deadline, a project must be ready to go by June 30, 2014.
Grants will range from $10 million to $200 million to fund eligible projects, which include highways and bridges; public transit; passenger and freight rail; intermodal facilities; and marine and port investments. According to the USDOT, at least $120 million of the $474 million must be awarded to projects in rural areas.
TIGER money can be used to fund up to 80% of a project’s total cost, though if a project can show that is has a significant amount of nonfederal funds included in its overall financing package, the project may have a competitive edge, the USDOT has said.
Recent projects that have benefitted from TIGER include the 3.3 mile M-1 Rail project in Detroit, which received $25 million, and the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, which received a grant of $10 million to expand rail service at the port with a new rail yard.
This is the fifth round of financing being distributed under TIGER since the program was put in place by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Since its inception, demand for funding under the TIGER program has been significant. According to the USDOT, in the first four rounds of the TIGER program, the USDOT received more than 4,050 project proposals seeking more than $105.2 billion. While demand has been great, only approximately $3.9 billion in transportation project grants have been given out so far under the program.