Posts Tagged ‘TIGER funding’

Trump Budget Would Hit Ohio Public Transit

March 20, 2017

The proposed fiscal year 2018 budget submitted to Congress by the Trump administration would put funding-starved public transportation in Ohio in even more dire straits.

“We’re barely hanging on. It’s just going to make the existing problems even worse,” said Kirt Conrad, president of the Ohio Public Transit Association and CEO of the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority.

President Donald J. Trump wants to cut the U.S. Department of Transportation budget by $2.4 billion, which is 13 percent.

Much of the adverse effect on public transportation could come from cuts to grant programs that benefit public transit systems.

The New Starts program, which was authorized to fund $2.3 billion in new rail or bus-rapid transit lines or to expand existing lines through 2020, was used by Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s HealthLine on Euclid Avenue.

“It [budget cuts] really potentially cuts future transit expansions in the country in general. It’s not just Ohio; in the whole country, public transit is at risk,” Conrad said. “In Ohio, without the federal support, I do not see those expansions.”

Also slated to be cut is the TIGER grant proram, which has also been used to fund transit in Ohio.

TIGER grants have funded rehabilitation of RTA stations, including the Little Italy-University Circle station and the University-Cedar station.

Two TIGER grants awarded in 2016 funded bicycle infrastructure in Cleveland and Akron.

Ohio transportation officials say the state’s transit systems rely on federal funding because Ohio limits the use of gas tax revenue to road projects.

Further squeezing public transit systems is a coming loss of revenue from a Medicaid MCO sale tax, which had been used for transit funding.

Starting in 2019, public transit systems in Ohio will lose $34 annually from that revenue source.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has proposed increasing state funding for public transportation by $10 million to make up part of the slack being left by the loss of the Medicaid MCO sales tax.

“Access to public transit is just getting worse, not better, in Ohio,” Conrad said.

Although the impact of the proposed Trump budget on highway construction and maintenance funding has yet to come into clear focus, transportation officials say that the loss of TIGER grants will have an adverse effect by removing another source of federal funding.

A $125 million TIGER grant helped pay, for example, for the new eastbound span of the George V. Voinovich (Innerbelt Bridge).

The Trump budget would also shift responsibility for air traffic control from the Federal Aviation administration to an independent, non-governmental organization.

NARP Decries Amtrak, Transit Budget Cuts

March 17, 2017

The National Association of Railroad Passengers said Thursday that the Trump administration budget for Amtrak for the fiscal year 2018 appears to have been adopted from a model proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The administration described the budget blueprint as a “skinny budget” and it contains few program details.

NARP contends that while President Donald Trump has talked up the need for transportation infrastructure investment, “his administration’s first budget guts infrastructure spending, slashing $2.4 billion from transportation. This will jeopardize mobility for millions of Americans and endanger tens of thousands of American jobs.”

The budget, which must be approved by Congress, would end all federal funding for Amtrak’s national network trains.

NARP said this would leave 23 states, including Ohio, without rail passenger service.

The Trump budget would also cut $499 million from the TIGER grant program, which has been used to advance passenger rail and transit projects and eliminate $2.3 billion for the Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” Capital Investment Program, which is used to fund the launch of transit, commuter rail, and light-rail projects.

Political analysts have noted that no budget proposal sent to Congress has emerged without changes.

It is likely that transportation advocacy groups will lobby Congress hard to restore the funding that Trump wants to cut.

Ohio Intermodal Station Projects Seek Other Funding After Failing to Land a TIGER Grant

August 11, 2016

Intermodal station projects in Cleveland and Oxford, Ohio, failed to win a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant this year, but will continue to move forward while seeking other funding sources.

In Cleveland, transportation officials have been studying the creation of the Lakefront Multimodal Transportation Center that will serve Amtrak, intercity buses and Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority buses and trains.

Amtrak 4The center, to be located west of East Ninth Street, unsuccessfully sought a $37.4 million TIGER grant.

The total project cost is $46.7 million of which Amtrak is expected to pay $4 million.

The intermodal complex would be part of a planned Mall-to-Harbor walkway that is being built by the City of Cleveland. That project will get underway this fall.

The walkway will have stairs and an elevator linking it to the Amtrak station.

Improvements to the Amtrak station include bringing it into ADA compliance, platform resurfacing/widening, and parking lot and walkway improvements.

Planners are eyeing how to obtain funding for preliminary engineering and construction of the Greyhound portion of the transportation center.

In Oxford, the city, Miami University and the Butler County Regional Transit Authority have proposed developing an intermodal facility that would serve as a stop for Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

Officials unsuccessfully sought $20 million in TIGER funds for the $26 million bus-rail intermodal station.

The Amtrak station platform, shelter and parking will cost about $600,000. The Cardinal currently does not stop in Oxford, but Amtrak has indicated it would be willing to serve Oxford if it provides suitable station facilities.

2016 Tiger Grant Winners Being Named

July 29, 2016

Although the U.S. Department of Transportation has not announced the winners of the 2016 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants, word is beginning to leak out about which bids have been chosen.

Thus far public officials in Tiger grantsIllinois, Mississippi, New York, Rhode Island and Washington have issued news releases detailing funding awarded to projects in those states.

DOT is awarding $500 million for the eighth round of TIGER. It received 585 applications requesting $9.3 billion.

The agency has said that its 2016 focus is on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for urban and rural communities.

585 Applicants Seek 2016 TIGER Grants

June 9, 2016

A total of 585 applications seeking $9.3 million have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the 2016 round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants.

Tiger grantsDOT said the requests are 18 times more than the $500 million in TIGER grant funding that is available.

The grant breakdown is 337 from urban areas and 248 from rural communities.  The TIGER program is now in its eighth year.

“As we have seen year after year, there are far more worthy projects than we can fund through TIGER, demonstrating the need for a serious, long-term investment in transportation funding,” said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in a statement.

The competitive grants are used for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and must have a significant impact on the nation, city or a region.

This year’s program is focusing on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation in urban or rural communities.

More than $4.6 billion in TIGER grants have awarded since 2009 for 381 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

$6.8M TIGER Grant to Be Used to Improve Dispatch Systems of Rural Ohio Transit Systems

November 4, 2015

Although no railroad projects in Ohio received a TIGER grant this year, the Ohio Department of Transportation did receive a $6,839,860 award to be used to improve the communications, scheduling and dispatching of more than 30 rural transit operators.

The $7.3 million project will involve development of technology improvements for communication/scheduling/ dispatching technology, improve rural transit operators’ eligibility for rural transit grants, and eliminate base-to-vehicle communication gaps in rural areas.

At present, many rural operators use pencil and paper scheduling, and dispatchers are often unable to communicate with drivers en route.

Having a better dispatching system is expected to improve customer satisfaction by providing more efficient on-time demand-responsive and fixed route operations.

This, in turn, is expected to lead to more efficient operation of vehicles, lower costs for transportation providers and clients, and more economical use of transit vehicles.

A more reliable communications system will allow rural transit operators to respond to emergency situations more rapidly and drivers to remain with their vehicles when involved in an emergency or an incident, thereby improving safety.

No Ohio Rail Projects Get 2015 TIGER Grant

October 31, 2015

No Ohio rail project applications made the final cut when it came time to hand out the 2015 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants.

The U.S. Department of Transportation this past week announced that 16 rail-related projects had won TIGER grants.

The Ports of Indiana was awarded $10 million to construct a double rail loop and rail-to-barge transfer facility in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

The project also includes construction of a nearly mile-long siding extension that will allow railroads to deliver a 90-car unit train to the port. The project will also construct a truck-to-rail intermodal facility to accommodate increasing truck traffic expected from the East End Bridge over the Ohio River.

Buffalo, New York, received $18 million to o rebuild the lower Main Street segment of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s Metro Rail light rail service.

The Metra commuter rail agency of Chicago received $15 million to replace a bridge over the Fox River in Elgin, Illinois, on a route owned by Canadian Pacific.

The TIGER grants were begun in 2009. This year there were 627 eligible applications that collectively sought $10.1 billion when there was just $500 million available.

The applications came from all 50 states. Grants were awarded to 39 projects in 34 states and more than $245 million was awarded to rail-related projects.

TIGER Grant Requests Exceed Funds Available

August 3, 2015

As in previous years, there are far more applicants for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recover (TIGER) grants than there are funds.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it has received requests totaling $9.8 billion, which is almost 20 times the amount of the $500 million in funding available.

Among the 625 applications received this year, 60 percent are road projects, 18 percent are transit projects and 8 percent are rail projects. Port and bicycle-pedestrian applications each represented 6 percent of the total, DOT said in a news release.

The number of applications is up from the 565 received in 2014 and came from all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Last year DOT awarded $584.1 million for 72 capital and planning projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

The TIGER program offers federal funding possibilities for large multimodal projects that are considered “transformative” in nature.

The federal dollars leverage money from private-sector partners, state and local government, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies.

“The consistent number of high quality projects we’re unable to fund through TIGER every year demonstrates the need for Congress to act to give more communities access to this vital lifeline,” said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided a $4.1 billion to 342 projects. During the previous six rounds, USDOT received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion.

Upgrades Planned for NS Intermodal Terminal

July 2, 2015

A $34.3 million expansion of the Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal in Columbus is being planned with Norfolk Southern and terminal officials seeking a $17.15 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

If the grant application is successful, NS would contribute $17.15 million toward the expansion.

NS opened the $69 million intermodal terminal in 2008 and it is now known as Rickenbacker Global Logistics Park.

The planned upgrades to the facility located 12 miles south of downtown Columbus include lengthening existing lift tracks and adding an additional lift crane.

The work would increase lift capacity to 300,000 annually from 210,000, according to the application. Construction could begin this year and be completed in 2018.

Detroit Streetcar Gets $12M TIGER Grant

September 11, 2014

The under construction Detroit streetcar project got a financial boost this week when it was awarded a $12.2 million grant from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.

The TIGER grant will be used to cover potential construction capital shortfalls in the $140 million project.

The streetcar project, known as M1, is currently underway with excavation and welded rail activity on Woodward Avenue.

“Because of this support and the support from all of our donors and partners, M-1 Rail is on its way to becoming an engine of economic growth that propels this entire city and region forward,” said M1 Rail President and CEO Matt Cullen.

A California-based company is serving as construction manager and general contractor for the 3.3-mile project.

The U.S. Department of Transportation received 797 TIGER VI grant applications seeking a total of $9.5 billion — 15 times the $600 million available through the program.

None of the TIGER grants announced this week were for projects in Ohio. Among the rail and transit awards were:

  • $12.5 million for track improvements along Amtrak’s Southwest Chief passenger-rail line in Colorado.
  • • $12 million to the South Dakota Department of Transportation to reconstruct a 41.6-mile portion of the state-owned MRC Railroad line between Chamberlain and Presho.
  • $10.3 million for the Central Corridor Transit Enhancement and Job Access Program in St. Louis.
  • $8.2 million to upgrade the New England Central Railroad’s line from New London, Conn., to the Massachusetts border.