Five Things You’ll Want to Know about USDOT TIGER V

Kansas City StreetcarWondering which modes, states, and projects got the most TIGER V funding? We’ve got the answers.  USDOT announced that 52 projects in 37 states are splitting the $474 million approved by Congress.

If you’re new to TIGER, here’s the lowdown. TIGER is program in which projects are awarded grants according to an objective set of criteria (set mostly by Congress). This contrasts to earmarks which were more susceptible to selection based on political reasons. TIGER is popular among communities and public agencies because it is one of the few remaining transportation grant programs that provide sizable dollars and funds multi-modal projects. Rural communities, often outgunned by their urban counterparts in lobbying, compete only against themselves, and communities with little political clout can still have a shot at funding.

Here are five things you’ll want to know about the latest TIGER round.

1.  Which modes received the most TIGER V funding? Transit and freight projects were the biggest winners in USDOT’s TIGER V competitive grant program, taking roughly 55% of the $474 million awarded.

This is based on our very rough analysis (i.e., looking at the project titles). See the project list below for how we categorized the projects, and feel free to let us know of any corrections.

  • Transit/Rail (16 projects): $176,414,257
  • Freight (14): $103,610,173
  • Roads (9): $57,642,885
  • Bike-Ped (7): $70,731,090
  • Complete Streets (6): $49,448,595


2. Which projects received the highest TIGER V awards? The top five were all city projects. In fact, nearly all of the awards went to cities, counties, or ports. Few grants went to State DOTs.

  • Kansas City, MO: $20,000,000 for the Kansas City Downtown Streetcar
  • Atlanta, GA: $18,000,000 for the Southwest Atlanta BeltLine Corridor Trail
  • Rochester, NY: $17,700,000 for the Inner Loop East Reconstruction
  • Fresno, CA: $15,924,620 for the Fulton Mall Reconstruction


3. Which states received the most TIGER funding? No real surprises here.

  • Florida: $35,621,020
  • Texas: $31,640,043
  • California: $31,424,620
  • New York: $25,727,000
  • Washington: $24,000,000


4. Rural projects win again. USDOT was required by Congress to allocate at least $120 million to rural projects; 25 such projects are splitting $123.4 million. The green dots on this map represents rural TIGER V grants:

TIGER V Map of Awards








5. TIGER V barely moves the needle in funding transportation projects. In this round, USDOT received 585 applications from all fifty states (and DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa) requesting more than $9 billion. Here’s how TIGER 2013 matches up against previous rounds, in terms of number of applications and total funding requested:

  • TIGER 2013: 585 applications received, requesting $9 billion.
  • TIGER 2012: 703 applications requested $10.2 billion; 47 grants were awarded and split $500 million.
  • TIGER 2011: 848 applications for $14.29 billion; 46 grants split $511 million.
  • TIGER 2010: 1700 applications for $54 billion; 75 grants split $583.7 million.
  • TIGER ARRA: 1400 applications for $60 billion; 51 projects split $1.5 billion.

The number of applicants has been dropping with every round, which we find very curious. A number of early-round applicants tell us they got discouraged, and the amount of work to complete an application is overwhelming.  We say it’s worth reconsidering for two reasons.  First, the odds for success are higher now  compared to early years as there are fewer applicants and perhaps the most compelling projects have been funded. Second, most of the information for the application can be copied from the previous application; there shouldn’t be too much new information required.

Lastly, USDOT has been criticized by many Republicans and a few Democrats (many from states or districts with unsuccessful TIGER applicants) for a lack of transparency in the selection process. The nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office investigated and found that the “[TIGER Program] Could Benefit from Increased Performance Focus and Better Documentation of Key Decisions.” Learn more from GAO’s 2-page Highlights PDF or the 60-page Report PDF.

USDOT has also been criticized for funding too many bike-ped and complete streets projects.  We looked at the first two rounds of TIGER grants and found little evidence: “DID TIGER II Spend Too Much on Bicycle-Pedestrian Projects?


The TIGER V award list, by mode (according to our opinion and your feedback):

State Applicant Organization Project Name Mode Funding
AL City of Foley Foley Transportation Regional Infrastructure Pedestrian System Bike-Ped $4,728,507
CA City of Fresno Fulton Mall Reconstruction Bike-ped $15,924,620
CA Town of Truckee State Route 89 Railroad Undercrossing Bike-Ped $1,500,000
FL Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization Lee County Complete Streets Initiative Bike-Ped $10,473,900
GA City of Atlanta Southwest Atlanta BeltLine Corridor Trail Bike-Ped $18,000,000
MA City of Boston Connect Historic Boston Bike-Ped $15,523,700
MT Missoula County Missoula to Lolo Trail Bike-Ped $4,580,363
AK Village of Alakanuk Alakanuk Community Streets Improvement CompStreets $2,200,000
FL Florida International University University City Prosperity Project CompStreets $11,397,120
IA Winneshiek County Northeast Iowa’s Livable Rural Communities CompStreets $1,651,475
NC City of Goldsboro Goldsboro Main Street Revitalization CompStreets $10,000,000
NY City of Olean Walkable Olean: Complete Street Transformation CompStreets $6,500,000
NY City of Rochester Inner Loop East Reconstruction CompStreets $17,700,000
AZ Pima County Port of Tucson: Container Export Rail Facility Freight $5,000,000
CO Town of Windsor Great Western Freight Improvement Freight $2,790,185
DE Diamond State Port Corporation Rehabilitation of Wharf Unit 1 (Berths 5/6) Freight $10,000,000
IN Indiana DOT White River Freight Railroad Bridge Replacement Freight $8,245,220
MD Maryland Port Administration Port of Baltimore Enhancements Freight $10,000,000
ME Eastport Port Authority Eastport Breakwater Replacement Freight $6,000,000
MN Duluth Seaway Port Authority Port of Duluth Intermodal Freight $10,000,000
MS Jackson County Port Authority Port of Pascagoula Intermodal Improvement Freight $14,000,000
NY Port of Oswego Authority Port of Oswego: East Terminal Intermodal Connector Freight $1,527,000
OK Oklahoma DOT Erick to Sayre Freight Railroad Rehabilitation Freight $1,831,000
OR Port of Garibaldi Port of Garibaldi Wharf Revitalization Freight $1,474,761
TX Port of Houston Authority Port of Houston: Bayport Wharf Freight $10,000,000
VT Vermont DOT Western Corridor Rail Rehabilitation Freight $8,992,007
FL Florida DOT South Florida Freight & Passenger Rail Enhancement Freight/Transit $13,750,000
AR Arkansas DOT Highway 92 Roadway Improvement and Bridge Replacements Road $4,960,000
CO Colorado DOT Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel Fire Suppression Road $10,000,000
MN Minnesota DOT Minnesota Rural Roads ITS Road $1,457,307
MS Mississippi DOT I-20 Mississippi River Bridge Rehabilitation Road $4,250,000
NM Taos Pueblo Taos Pueblo Veterans Highway Road $3,290,121
NV Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Pelican Point Roads Road $2,949,513
RI Rhode Island DOT Apponaug Circulator Improvements Road $10,000,000
SD Oglala Sioux Tribe Improvements to BIA Route 2 Road $8,777,960
VA Virginia DOT Delta Frame Bridge Road $11,957,984
CA San Diego Association of Governments Pacific Surfliner Coastal Railway Bridges Transit/Rail $14,000,000
CT Connecticut DOT State Street Station Expansion Transit/Rail $10,000,000
IL City of Springfield Springfield Rail Improvements Transit/Rail $14,400,000
IN Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation IndyGo Electric Bus Transit/Rail $10,000,000
MI Michigan DOT Kalamazoo to Dearborn Rail Improvements Transit/Rail $9,383,036
MO City of Kansas City Kansas City Downtown Streetcar Transit/Rail $20,000,000
NC City of Raleigh Raleigh Union Station Phase 1B Transit/Rail $10,000,000
NH New Hampshire DOT New Hampshire Northcoast Rail Corridor Improvements Transit/Rail $1,400,000
OK City of Oklahoma City OKC Intermodal Transportation Hub Transit/Rail $13,591,178
PA Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority SEPTA-CSX Separation Project Transit/Rail $10,000,000
TN Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority Nashville Transit Signal Priority System Transit/Rail $10,000,000
TX Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Moving Central Texas Transit/Rail $11,337,989
TX Sun Metro Northgate Transfer Center Transit/Rail $10,302,054
WA Sound Transit I-90 Two Way Transit and HOV Transit/Rail $14,000,000
WA Sound Transit Tacoma Trestle Replacement Transit/Rail $10,000,000
WY Town of Jackson Jackson Transit Facility Transit/Rail $8,000,000