T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

Cities and towns could lose one of their best options for funding smart local projects

The Senate Commerce Committee is marking up a version of a long-term transportation funding bill Wednesday morning with no authorization for the popular TIGER program, thus limiting the money available to local communities.

Let me tell you a short story.

In central Illinois, there’s a classic medium-sized American town that desperately wanted to revitalize their downtown, fan the flames of the community’s civic pride, and provide a new lynchpin to encourage development in a part of town that had been neglected for far too long.

The elected leaders, business leaders and citizens in Normal, Illinois had an ambitious vision for their city’s core to become a powerful asset; helping them compete and prosper economically and creating a new framework for creating value for decades to come.

save-tiger-featuredSince 2009, the federal TIGER program has made projects like Normal’s downtown transportation hub and civic centerpiece a reality, directing a relatively tiny $4 billion into smart, ready-to-go homegrown transportation projects that bring a high return on investment.

Unfortunately, in the just-released proposal for a new long-term transportation bill, the Senate Commerce Committee has decided to entirely scrap the oversubscribed and woefully underfunded TIGER program that awards competitive, merit-based grants.

Can you send a message right now to your Senators and urge them to preserve TIGER? 

The Senate Commerce Committee is marking up the bill on Wednesday morning (7/15), so there’s not a moment to lose!

The committee is creating a very smart competitive multimodal grant program explicitly for freight projects, but that shouldn’t happen at the expense of TIGER. We need more transportation dollars, not fewer, awarded competitively on the merits to the best projects.

When we choose projects on the merits, we can get a greater bang for the buck. In Normal, where the new transportation hub opened in 2012, a total public investment of $80 million has catalyzed $165 million in private development surrounding the station, with another $40-50 million in the works.

These TIGER grants have been rewarding communities all across the country that are thinking outside the box to cut congestion, improve safety, promote economic development, or improve access to jobs and opportunities through smarter transportation investments.

It’s time to take a stand for TIGER. Can you send a message today?

3 Comments

  1. rob seibert

    2 years ago

    Biking locally in Southwest Floride is enjoyed by so many -despite the dated and woefully inadequate bikeways and needed bikeway improvements. Pleas e keep our SAFETY and ENJOYMENT in mind.

  2. Pingback: Senate Committee Moves to Eliminate TIGER Program in Next Transpo Bill | Streetsblog USA

  3. Brandon Farley

    2 years ago

    TIGER grants should be consistent with the purpose of the program. Not certain local economic development masked as a transportation improvement has merit. I suspect infrastructure rehabilitation and rebuilds do have merit, as well as improvements that add needed capacity to alternative modes (urban rail) in a smart way.