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Over 150 elected officials, DOTs, MPOs, chambers of commerce and others voice strong support for restoring TIGER program

With the the Senate Commerce Committee due to mark up their portion of a long-term transportation bill that will eliminate the competitive TIGER grant program and refocus its funds on a multimodal freight program, more than 150 organizations and elected officials signed a letter urging the committee to restore and authorize the TIGER program.

In the full letter (pdf) delivered to Commerce Committee offices just a few moments ago, more than 150 organizations and individuals supported the simple ask of preserving (and permanently authorizing) the TIGER program while also keeping the committee’s smart multimodal grant program for freight projects:

We request that the Commerce Committee authorize a strong, multimodal freight policy and freight investment grant program, as well as pass a complementary, authorization of the TIGER grant program separate from the multimodal freight discretionary grant program at or near equal funding levels.

Without moving both of these critical investment programs forward, the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act removes local leaders’ access to one of the only federal transportation programs open to them today and miss an opportunity to establish transportation investment programs that both promotes the efficient movement of goods and provides affordable mobility and access to opportunity for all Americans.

The groups represented on the letter included 30 mayors/cities, over 30 chambers of commerce, businesses, metropolitan planning organizations, advocacy groups of all stripes, a few universities, and a few city departments of transportation.

Want to join them? It’s not too late to send a letter of your own to your Senator urging them to keep TIGER alive.

Here’s why some of the letter’s signatories say they support this effort:

TIGER has been incredibly important to supporting economic development in our thriving region. Here that means strong freight connections as well as connections to high tech and aerospace jobs in growing job centers in our cities – quality jobs that are supported by all sorts of transportation connections. – Rick Olson, Director of Government Relations, Puget Sound Regional Council (Seattle).

A flexible TIGER grant program is essential to ensuring the economic mobility and prosperity of communities across our country. America is great for the individuality that each of our community possesses. Our local diversity is our national strength. Preserving this invaluable transportation program in the flexible form it now stands ensures that the progress and momentum we are now experiencing is sustained as we emerge from the Great Recession into the future. – Paul F. Morris, President and CEO, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

Access to programs like TIGER to fund multi-modal improvements to our transportation system is critical to the future of our community. Please keep TIGER flexible and useful as a tool to meet the transportation goals of individual communities. – Bruce Knight, Planning and Development Director, City of Champaign, Illinois

The TIGER program has been invaluable to the City of Indianapolis. From the construction of our world-class and unique Cultural Trail, to the deployment of 22 all electric buses, to the planning and design of our first rapid transit corridor – TIGER has been there and made our dollars go farther, faster. Changing one of the most successful federal programs to restrict uses would be a mistake. – Gregory A. Ballard, Mayor, City of Indianapolis

As the only USDOT initiative that specifically recognizes the vital link between transportation & economic development, it is imperative that the Congress continue the TIGER program, allowing communities across the country to promote sustainable investments that not only maintain, but actually improve our transportation system. – Rick Dunne, Executive Director, NVCOG – Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (Connecticut)

The TIGER grants have made some very important alternative transportation projects possible. The smartest way to solve congestion and pollution is to offer people alternatives to sitting in traffic jams. This is one of the most important ways the federal government can assist the local governments. It should not only be continued, but it should be increased. —Mark Gamba, Mayor of Milwaukie, Oregon

The TIGER program is a vital tool for local governments to enhance multimodal options, provide repairs to key pieces of infrastructure, and improve transit service. While the Broward MPO supports a national freight grant program, such a program should not be created at the expense of TIGER, especially when more and more Americans are demanding alternative transportation options. – Gregory Stuart, Executive Director, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (Florida)

TIGER is a tremendous program that allows communities to create the kind of 21st century transportation infrastructure that is the foundation for a robust economy. I strong urge all Members of Congress to continue to support this important program. – Dawn Zimmer, Mayor, City of Hoboken (New Jersey)

The Commerce Committee’s markup takes place at 4:45 p.m. (eastern) today.

Keep those letters to your Senators coming and help preserve TIGER and the good it does for local communities.