Projects to improve transportation infrastructure across the county — for roadways, transit, rail, and ports — will soon receive millions of dollars in funding from a federal grant program administered by the Department of Transportation. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program will provide nearly $500 million in 2016 to states, local municipalities, and tribal governments.
“For the eighth year running, TIGER will inject critical infrastructure dollars into communities across the country,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This unique program rewards innovative thinking and collaborative solutions to difficult and sometimes dangerous transportation problems.”
The fiscal 2016 grants include $193 million for road projects, $97 million for transit, $87 million for passenger and freight rail, and $54 million for ports and maritime improvements, according to Secretary Foxx..
The TIGER grant program supports innovative multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional projects, and the 2016 awards focus on capital projects that generate economic development while improving access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation, according to the DOT.
“A great TIGER program doesn’t just improve transportation; it expands economic opportunity and transforms a community,” said Secretary Foxx.
The aforementioned $431 million was awarded to agencies in 30 states and will fund hundreds of projects. A few of the 2016 projects include: the ‘Rosecrans/Marquardt Grade Separation Project’ sponsored by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; the ‘Martin Luther King Jr Drive Corridor Improvement Initiative’ sponsored by the City of Atlanta; roadway reconstruction in Flint, Mich., during the replacement of underlying water transmission lines; and the ‘Terminal Modernization Project’ sponsored by the Port of Everett in Washington.
In the coming months, these sponsors/agencies will be seeking architectural, engineering and construction consultants to plan, design, and inspect these infrastructure projects. The TIGER grant program is yet another source that IMS monitors to develop Advance Notices of upcoming A/E/C opportunities. A few examples of recent TIGER grants leading to RFPs and RFQs for consulting services include:
* In 2015, the Arizona Department of Transportation received a $15 million TIGER grant to create a four-lane highway overpass on SR 347 over a double track rail line. IMS published an Advance Notice for the project, as well as details of the RFQ for design services (IMS No. 305578).
* The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority received $15 million in last year’s award cycle to restore a blighted area of unused railroad tracks to a corridor safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. IMS published an Advance Notice, several Updates, and the formal RFP announcement related to environmental and design services for the Rail to River Active Transportation Corridor Project (IMS No. 308494).
* The City of Lowell, Mass., received a $13.3 million TIGER grant to replace three bridges and repair an additional three bridges over downtown power canals. IMS published an Advance Notice and the subsequent RFP information for design services (IMS No. 329043).
* The City of Wilson, N.C., received a $10 million TIGER grant to help construct multimodal facilities along the U.S. 301 corridor, as well as improve high-crash intersections. IMS published a project notice when the City sought engineering, right-of-way, and hydrologic/hydraulic design services for the roadway and pedestrian improvements (IMS No. 343627).
Since 2009, the TIGER grant program has provided a combined $5.1 billion to 421 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and tribal communities.
And this this year’s total of $484 million could actually support $1.73 billion of transportation infrastructure improvements. “Each $1.00 of a TIGER grant can leverage up to $3.50 in other public and private investments,” said Secretary Foxx in a news story by The Bond Buyer.
“Successful TIGER projects leverage resources, encourage partnership, catalyze investment and growth, fill a critical void in the transportation system or provide a substantial benefit to the nation, region or metropolitan area in which the project is located,” Secretary Foxx said.
Don’t Let Go
It’s said ‘to have a tiger by the tail’ is to have a very difficult problem to solve. That idiom is more than apropos here. It remains to be seen what Congress will do with the TIGER grant program. The funding must be renewed each year and there is always pressure in Washington to reduce funding levels. The current DOT leadership, however, sees great merit in these projects to improve safety and economic opportunity.
“The only issue with TIGER is that we need to be doing more of it – much more. During the previous seven rounds, we received more than 7,300 applications requesting more than $143 billion for transportation projects across the country,” Secretary Foxx wrote. “That shows enormous unmet demand for infrastructure investment from coast to coast.”