USDOT Outlines $600M "TIGER II" Grant Program, $150M Available for TIFIA

USDOT has published interim guidance on its new TIGER II competitive grant program, a $600M successor to the popular $1.5B TIGER program included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The guidance outlines application deadlines, eligibility and project selection criteria, and indicates a shift in the focus of the program from near-term job creation to long-term outcomes.

TIGER II is not constrained by ARRA’s focus on shovel ready projects and immediate job creation (funds must be awarded by 9/30/2012, but there is no deadline for expenditure or project completion).  Instead, TIGER II seeks long-term outcomes, though these outcomes fall in the same general areas as TIGER I: safety, economic competitiveness, livability, sustainability, and state of good repair (the extent to which a project improves the condition of existing infrastructure and minimize life-cycle costs).

Click below for additional details about the focus and requirements of TIGER II.

Focus on Livability, Sustainability, and Innovation

In keeping with the DOT-HUD-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities, TIGER II’s evaluation criteria will emphasize lowering the average cost of transportation. Proposed improvements in economic competitiveness will also need to demonstrate environmental sustainability. The program will give special priority to multi-modal projects that incorporate new technologies or innovative approaches to finance, contracting, project delivery, congestion management, safety, asset management, or long-term operations and maintenance.

$150M for TIFIA, USDOT Flexibility in Awarding TIFIA Assistance

Up to $150M will be available for TIGER II TIFIA Payments which could support as much as $1.5B in federal credit assistance. The TIFIA assistance program generally follows the same model used under ARRA – applicants must submit a TIFIA letter of interest with their TIGER II application, and may apply for both grant funding and credit assistance concurrently. However, the new program would allow USDOT to award TIFIA assistance to applicants who did not ask for it – even if USDOT denies the project’s application for grant funding.

It will be interesting to see how much of the $150M TIGER II funds the USDOT actually doles out -- only $60M of an authorized $200M was allocated through TIGER I. USDOT’s new authority to award TIFIA assistance in lieu of, or in addition to, grant funding should pave the way for greater utilization of the TIFIA program under TIGER II. Awarding the full $150M in TIFIA assistance could more than double the impact of this program.

Additionally the TIGER II guidelines include several notable details:

·         Grant Restrictions TIGER II grants must be for at least $10M and cannot exceed $200M. No state can receive more than 25% of the funds.

·          Federal Share Capped at 80% For most projects, the federal share will be limited to 80%, requiring a 20% local match.  This requirement was waived under the ARRA program.

·          Rural Projects In a significant shift from the ARRA program, TIGER II is required to invest at least $140M in rural projects, which are exempt from the 20% local match and the minimum grant size described above.  Grants for rural projects must be for at least $1M.

·          Planning Grants and USDOT-HUD Coordination TIGER II can provide up to $35M in planning grants to activities related to the planning, preparation or design of Eligible Projects, including transportation corridors or regional transportation systems.  USDOT intends to coordinate implementation of these planning grants with HUD’s $40M Community Planning Challenge Grant program.  As with the TIFIA funding, USDOT can provide planning grants even if it decides not to fund the applicant’s grant request and regardless of whether the applicant requested planning grant assistance.

·         Funding Availability ARRA gave priority to projects expected to be completed by February 17, 2012.  TIGER II is not subject to any similar requirements, although TIGER II funds are only available for obligation through September 30, 2012.

·         Application Deadline

·        Pre-application forms will be available on June 15, 2010 at: www.dot.gov/recovery/ost/TIGERII  Pre-applications are due by 5pm EST on July 16, 2010.

·         Applications are due by 5pm EST on August 23, 2010 and must be submitted through www.grants.gov.  Applicants must be registered with the site, a process that takes 2-4 weeks.

·         USDOT will announce recipients on or after September 15, 2010.

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