Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery
Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) is a supplementary discretionary grant program included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The legislation provides $1.5 billion for a National Surface Transportation System through September 30, 2011, "to be awarded on a competitive basis for capital investments in surface transportation projects".
The U.S. government designed TIGER grants in order to incentivize bettering environmental problems and reducing the United States' dependence on energy. On the economic front, the United States hopes infrastructure investment will encourage job creation, a pressing political priority; this would likely require the project to be shovel ready.
Applicants eligible to receive funding for surface transportation projects include:
- State and local governments, including U.S. territories and regional tribal councils
- Transit agencies
- Port authorities
- Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs)
- Multi-state or multi-jurisdictional applicants
Qualified projects should result in "desirable, long-term outcomes" for the United States, a state within, or a regional or metropolitan area. According to Title 23 of the United States Code, eligible projects could include improvements to interstate highways, reworking of interchanges, bridge replacements, earthquake-related improvements, relocating roads, upgrading rural collector roads, certain transit projects, passenger and freight rail transportation projects, and port infrastructure. Selected projects might improve the economy of the entire country, transportation safety, and quality of life for communities.
TIGER I (2009)
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced the TIGER discretionary grants program on February 4, 2009. Lana T. Hurdle, deputy assistant secretary for budget and programs, and Joel Szabat, deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy, co-chaired the team responsible for selecting projects and monitoring spending. Out of nearly 1,400 applications who collectively submitted $60 billion in applications, the Department of Transportation was only able to award $1.5 billion in TIGER grant funds to a just 3% of applicants—51 innovative projects.
TIGER II (2010)
TIGER III (2011)
On June 30, 2011, Secretary LaHood announced that nearly $527 million would go towards the third round of TIGER fund disbursal. On December 15, 2011,that $511 million from the TIGER grant program would fund 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico.
TIGER IV (2012)
The fourth round of TIGER funding—close to $500 million—went to 47 transportation projects in 34 states and the District of Columbia. For fiscal year 2012, Democratic districts won projects that concern ports, multimodal transport, and freight rail transport; receiving 24% of total funds, rural areas also performed strongly.
Although TIGER grants have drawn record numbers of applications, many[who?] government and industry analysts contend that many winning projects are mere "politically oriented, local boondoggles". Furthermore, despite the fact that grants are intended for "national projects", many winning projects are defined by their focus on local needs. While the projects themselves may be worthy of funding, critics point out that "if states and localities want them then states and localities should fund these projects". One change in the TIGER rules were that $100 million would be set aside for high-speed and intercity passenger rail. Critics[who?] think that this policy should be overturned, claiming HSR funds tend to be "for political purposes only".
- "DOT Information Related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act)". dot.gov. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- "Federal City Digest". Washington Post. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- "Recovery Act Discretionary (TIGER) Grants". U.S. Department of Transportation. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Secretary LaHood Announces Funding for Over 50 Innovative, Strategic Transportation Projects through Landmark Competitive TIGER Program" (Press release). U.S. Department of Transportation. 17 February 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
- "TIGER II Discretionary Grants (2010)". U.S. Department of Transportation. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "TIGER III Discretionary Grants (2011)". U.S. Department of Transportation. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "TIGER IV Discretionary Grants (2012)". U.S. Department of Transportation. 13 July 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- Feigenbaum, Baruch (6 July 2012). "Problems with the Government's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grants". Reason Foundation. Retrieved 30 August 2012.