TIGER V Moves 25 Freight Projects Forward

Similar to Past Rounds, Goods Movement Projects Awarded 43 Percent of Funding

By MarEx 2013-09-10 11:56:00

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced the 52 projects that will receive funding from the fifth round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, dubbed TIGER V. Of those 52 projects, 25 are devoted to freight or have a strong freight component accounting for over $205 million, or 43 percent, of the total $474 million announced through the grant program.

“I applaud USDOT for once again selecting an impressive number of freight-related projects in this round of the TIGER grant program,” said Sharon Neely, Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) Chairman and Chief Deputy Executive Director of Southern California Association of Governments. “Our nation’s global economic competitiveness is reliant upon the ability of U.S. businesses to move goods into, out of, and within the United States. Programs that provide money for freight projects, such as the TIGER program, are a smart investment by the Federal government and one that will benefit our country for years to come.”

Several projects sponsored by CAGTC member organizations received funding through the program, including:

- Maryland Port Administration’s Port of Baltimore Enhancements
- Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Florida Freight & Passenger Rail Enhancement
- Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Mississippi River Bridge Rehabilitation
- San Diego Association of Governments’ Pacific Surfliner Coastal Railway Bridges

FDOT’s Florida Freight & Passenger Rail Enhancement will be used to improve the linkage of Southern Florida’s two major freight rail corridors to improve freight and passenger connectivity in the region, according to USDOT.

"I am excited for the Florida Department of Transportation to receive this TIGER grant which will help complete the funding for the South Florida Freight & Passenger Rail Enhancement project," said FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad. "I appreciate our partners at CSXT, Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) and the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) stepping up to the plate to make this infrastructure enhancement a reality. The grant gives us the opportunity to leverage the dollars to complete this project that will improve connection points for South Florida's two major freight rail connectors and accommodate a significant increase in freight with the expansion of the Panama Canal."

Commenting on his enthusiasm for FDOT’s TIGER V grant award, FEC CEO, Jim Hertwig, said, "this grant will allow FEC to handle more traffic from Port Miami and Port Everglades as well provide flexibility for freight movements in South Florida."

Demonstrating the vast number of unmet infrastructure needs in the United States, demand for the program outweighed available funds, and during all five rounds, USDOT received more than 5,200 applications requesting more than $114.2 billion for transportation projects across the country according to the Department. The TIGER program has distributed roughly $3.6 billion to a total of 270 projects throughout its five funding rounds. 

The Eno Center for Transportation released a report in April titled “Lessons Learned from the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program” which provided an in-depth analysis of the program’s execution, celebrating elements such as the program’s benefit-cost analysis, broad modal eligibility, cost-share requirements, wide-ranging agency eligibility, and provisions to promote geographic and rural/urban distribution. Freight has competed well in the previous rounds of TIGER in large part due to these elements, specifically broad modal eligibility and the call for benefit-cost analysis, the outcome of which often elevates freight projects among other applications.

The first round of TIGER awarded money in February 2010 to a total of 51 projects, 22 of which (or 43 percent) contained a strong freight component. Those 22 projects received 49 percent of the available funds, totaling more than $730 million. In October of 2010, TIGER II projects with a strong freight component received $316 million, or 53 percent of the $600 million in available funding. In December 2011, TIGER III supplied grants for 46 projects, 18 of which were devoted to freight or had a strong freight component accounting for over $232 million (or 45 percent) of the total $511 distributed through the grant program. TIGER IV, awarded in July 2012, provided funding for 47 projects, 21 of which were devoted to freight or had a strong freight component accounting for over $228 million (or 47 percent) of the total $485 million distributed through the grant program.