TIGER II funds benefit freight projects
More than one-third of the $600 million awarded Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation under a national competition for high-impact infrastructure projects went to railroads and ports.
The department picked 75 projects (42 construction and 33 planning projects) from almost 1,000 applications seeking more than $19 billion:
' Road projects represented about 29 percent of the TIGER II money.
' Transit, 26 percent.
' Rail, 20 percent.
' Ports, 16 percent.
' Bicycle and pedestrian structures, 4 percent.
' Planning grants, 5 percent.
The program used merit-based criteria to determine which projects meet critical long-term needs or do the best job of improving transportation efficiency, reducing energy consumption and creating jobs.
The first round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program created by the 2009 stimulus act attracted almost 1,500 applications worth $60 billion. Fifty-one projects ended up splitting $1.5 billion.
Overall, freight projects received 53 percent, or $316 million, of the available TIGER II money. Three of the top five recipients and five of the top 10 are freight projects. Seven of the 42 capital projects were for ports, which together garnered $95 million of the $557 million in capital grant funds available.
'The percentage of funding going to ports for TIGER II capital grants is more than twice as much as in the first round of TIGER grants and moves us closer to the 25 percent of overall TIGER grant funding we believe is appropriate,” Kurt Nagle, head of the American Association of Port Authorities, said in news release.
Projects with a direct link to freight transportation received more than half of the funding in TIGER I.
Among the freight-related projects that received money were the:
' West Vancouver Freight Access Project at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., $10 million.
' San Bernardino Airport Access Project in San Bernardino, Calif., $10 million.
' Port Manatee, Fla., to help construct a 32-acre container terminal that can be used to support truck-to-barge container moves, $9 million.
' Great Plains Freight Rail, to relocate a major rail yard from an urban to a rural area, $10.2 million.
AmericanShipper.com initially reported projects and funding Wednesday.
'Today's announcement reaffirms that competitive grants with objective, merit-based criteria are an effective way to invest in the nation's multimodal infrastructure,' said Leslie Blakey, executive director of the Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors, in a statement. 'These commerce-moving projects create jobs and other benefits up and down the supply chain, and are vital to the U.S. economy.'
The CAGTC is encouraging Congress to include a third TIGER funding round in the DOT's fiscal year appropriation bill, which Congress is expected to debate during the lame duck session later this year. The bills pending in each chamber include a TIGER component, with the House version calling for a $400 million program and the Senate proposing $800 million.
The entire list of capital grant and planning grant recipients are available here and here. ' Eric Kulisch