Once again we see the latent demand across the U.S. for funding projects that move people and goods more quickly, safely, and cleanly. The 2012 TIGER IV program received 703 grant applications, while USDOT will be able to award only 25 to 50 projects, according to Secretary Ray LaHood. The applications total $10.2 billion, while USDOT has about less than $500 million to award. The 703 applications came from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
The first three TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) programs received nearly 2250 applications requesting more than $95 billion; USDOT awarded 172 projects to split the $2.6 billion approved by Congress.
TIGER is program in which projects are awarded grants according to a set of criteria, as opposed to earmarks which were more likely to be awarded 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 a sizable dollar grant, funds multi-modal projects, and communities with little political clout can still have a shot at funding.
TIGER has been criticized by many Republicans and a few Democrats for a lack of transparency in the selection process, and for the kinds of projects funded (e.g., bike-ped, complete streets). Learn more from “House Transportation Chair Mica Is No Fan of TIGER Program.” 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.
Learn more from our complete TIGER coverage and these related stories: