T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

Over 170 local elected, business and civic leaders from 45 states call on Congress to support TIGER & public transit funding


WASHINGTON, DC — Over 170 elected officials and local, civic and business leaders from 45 U.S. states today sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to provide at least $500 million for another round of TIGER competitive transportation grants as well as the full amount authorized in last year’s FAST Act for new transit construction.

As Congress begins to craft the transportation budget for the 2017 fiscal year, the 170-plus local leaders of all stripes, representing an incredible diversity of places, sent a powerful message that opportunities provided by TIGER and FTA’s New Starts program are crucial to their long-term success.

The fiercely competitive TIGER program is one of the few ways that local communities of almost any size can directly receive federal dollars for their priority transportation projects, and represents one of the most fiscally responsible transportation programs administered by USDOT. Unlike the overwhelming majority of all federal transportation dollars that are awarded via formulas to ensure that all states or metro areas get a share, regardless of how they’re going to spend those dollars, the federal government has found a smart way to use a small amount of money to incentivize the best projects possible through TIGER. Projects vying for funding compete against each other on their merits to ensure that each dollar is spent in the most effective way possible and through the first seven rounds, each TIGER dollar has brought in 3.5 non-federal dollars. 

It’s a roadmap to a more efficient way to spend transportation dollars that spurs innovation, stretches federal transportation dollars further than in conventional formula programs, and awards funding to projects that provide a high-return on investment. And according to these hundreds of local leaders who know the needs of their communities best, congressional appropriators would be remiss to provide any less than the $500 million it has typically received since its inception in 2009.

The letter also calls on appropriators to fully fund the federal government’s primary resource for supporting new, locally-planned and supported transit expansion projects. The New and Small Starts programs have facilitated the creation of dozens of new or extended public transportation systems across the country, also awarded competitively to the best projects.

Congress already recognized the importance of this program in the FAST Act when they increased its authorization by $400 million for this fiscal year. The 178 signatories on the letter fully expect appropriators to fund the program at it’s fully authorized level of $2.3 billion in the FAST Act, our country’s current transportation law. From the letter:

As you prepare the Transportation-HUD appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, we write to respectfully request that the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program is funded at or above FY16 level of $500 million and that the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants program is funded at the FAST Act authorization level of $2.3 billion.

Both the TIGER and Capital Investment Grants programs complement DOT’s traditional formula-based programs. Both programs provide unique, cost-effective, and innovative solutions that leverage private, state, and local investment to solve complex transportation and spur economic development.

Read the full letter here with all 174 signatories, including 25 mayors (pdf).

Contact: Stephen Lee Davis
Director of Communications


  1. Pingback: Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog St. Louis

  2. Fred Niknamfard

    8 years ago

    54 Soundview Rd, Great Neck, BY 11020
    I’m in support of this letter.TIGER and Capital Investment Grant Programs are necessary.

  3. Dave Gee

    8 years ago

    I am in support representing a Rural Planning Comission in the State of Indiana. More funding is needed for small loca units of government.

    Good letter

  4. James D.

    8 years ago

    Transit supports workers, students, elderly and the community as a whole. The Tiger programs bring progress to our cities. It is a great program.