If you live in Stamford, Connecticut and your walk to the train station gets safer next year, you can thank USDOT’s TIGER grant program. Or when your hometown of American Falls, Idaho suddenly gets complete streets downtown, accommodating people on foot, on bikes, on buses, in cars, and in wheelchairs, encouraging local shopping. Or when you realize that traffic congestion between Olympia and Tacoma, Washington has eased, not by adding lanes but by installing intelligent technology to manage traffic and encourage ridesharing.
All 46 of the TIGER III award grantees have been announced now, and there are sure to be more communities disappointed than excited, given that there were 828 applications totaling $14.1 billion and USDOT had only $511 million to give. The money went to 33 states and Puerto Rico. USDOT was careful to include many rural projects, though those tend to be the smallest grant awards. Twenty of the 46 projects are in rural areas, but they only amount to about 30 percent of the total outlay. (Check out Transportation for America’s fantastic interactive map of grantees from all three rounds of TIGER.)
All in all, 48 percent of the projects fund roadwork, with about a quarter of those funds paying for complete streets treatments like the one in American Falls. Another 29 percent goes to transit – a far better shake for transit than generally comes of the normal Congressional appropriations process. Twelve percent went to ports, 10 percent for freight rail, and two percent for passenger rail.