Earlier this week USDOT Secretary LaHood announced the winners of the highly competitive TIGER II grant application cycle. Forty-two capital construction projects and 33 planning projects in 40 states will share nearly $600 million in grant funds.
According to the announcement, USDOT received nearly 1,000 construction grant applications for more than $19 billion from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Roughly 29 percent of TIGER II money goes for road projects, 26 percent for transit, 20 percent for rail projects, 16 percent for ports, four percent for bicycle and pedestrian projects and five percent for planning projects. Grants sizes ranged from $1M for a small road extension project in Franklin County, Washington to $47.7M for Georgia’s Atlanta Streetcar project.
These are innovative, 21st century projects that will change the U.S. transportation landscape by strengthening the economy and creating jobs, reducing gridlock and providing safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation choices, said Secretary LaHood. Many of these projects could not have been funded without this program.
The most significant project (in dollar terms) to receive funding is the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LA Metro) $1.7B Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line Project. LA Metro received a $20 million TIGER II TIFIA Payment, which is anticipated to support a $546 million TIFIA loan, covering nearly a third of project costs. This groundbreaking project is a key piece of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30/10 initiative, an effort to accelerate 12 major transit projects in just 10 years, rather than 30 years, using innovative financing backed by the voter approved Measure R sales tax.
The new 8.5-mile light rail line will provide a critical north-south link in Los Angeles, with six to eight stops connecting the South Bay Region and LAX Airport with major employment centers located in the Westside Region and the downtown area. LA Metro expects to complete the environmental process in the spring of next year, and construction could begin in late 2011 and be complete between 2016 and 2018.
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