Posts Tagged ‘Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery’

USDOT Grants Given New Name

April 15, 2021

First there was TIGER then BUILD and now RAISE. Those are the acronyms given to U.S. Department of Transportation capital spending grants.

The names tend to change when the occupant of the White House changes.

This week USDOT said it is taking applications for Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability and Equity grants.

The agency has a pot of $1 billion to award in federal fiscal year 2021.

For this round of RAISE grants, the maximum grant award is $25 million and no more than $100 million will be awarded to a single state.

Up to $30 million will be awarded to planning grants. USDOT will award an equitable amount, not to exceed half of funding, to projects located in urban and rural areas respectively.

Maximum awards are capped at $25 million with no more than $100 million being awarded to a single state.

Up to $30 million will be awarded to planning grants with an equitable amount, not to exceed half of funding, to projects located in urban and rural areas respectively.

Applications will be evaluated based on merit criteria that include safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation and partnership.

DOT said that it will give preference to projects that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity, reduce the effects of climate change and create good-paying jobs.

The RAISE program was formerly known as Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development and before that as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.

The two programs have awarded more than $8.9 billion in grants since 2009.

TIGER Giving Way to BUILD

April 24, 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation is replacing the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program with another program to be known as BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development).

A DOT notice published last week said BUILD funding will be evaluated on safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental protection, state of good repair, innovation, partnership and additional non-federal revenue for future transportation infrastructure investments factors.

The agency said it plans to award at least 30 percent of BUILD grants to projects located in rural areas.

BUILD grants can be used for road, bridge, transit, rail, port or intermodal projects. Projects must demonstrate that they will have a “significant local or regional impact.”

The DOT notice said the agency has $1.5 billion in discretionary grants to award through Sept. 30, 2020, through BUILD.

The initial round of BUILD grants will be limited to a maximum award of $25 million with no more than $150 million being awarded to a single state.

The TIGER program was introduced in 2009.

FY2018 Budget Bill Boosts Amtrak Funding

March 26, 2018

A federal budget bill approved by Congress last week contained an increase in funding for Amtrak, although that funding boost is expected to be used to help pay for the Gateway project in New York-New Jersey.

However, Amtrak’s long-distance trains would also receive an upward bump in funding.

News reports indicate that Amtrak will receive a minimum of $388 for the Gateway project, which involves replacement of tunnels leading into New York City beneath the Hudson River.

The $1.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 allocates more money for passenger rail projects than Congress has approved since the 2008 economic stimulus spending programs ended.

The budget directs $650 million to the Northeast Corridor while Amtrak’s national network will receive $1.292 billion. Those are both increases from 2017 funding of $328 million for the NEC in 2017 and $1.1 billion for the national network. Amtrak’s total appropriation will be $1.942 billion, up from $1.428 billion.

Other transportation programs also fared well in the budget bill.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program was given a $1 billion boost over 2017 levels to $1.5 billion available. At least 30 percent of these grants will go to rural communities.

Federal investments in rail infrastructure and safety programs was funded at $3.1 billion.

Also included is funding for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants at $250 million to address critical rail investments nationwide and on the NEC.

Rail safety and research programs received $287 million to fund inspectors and training, plus maintenance and safety investments to the physical rail infrastructure.

Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants were given $593 million to fund capital and safety improvements, planning, environmental work and research. There is also $250 million included for grants available to rail operators for the installation of positive train control.

The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan program received a $25 million allocation for the first time and $350,000 has been set aside to help short line and regional railroads participate in the program.

The Federal Transit Administration received $13.5 billion, which includes $9.7 billion “to help local communities build, maintain, and ensure the safety of their mass transit systems.”

Within the $9.7 billion is $2.6 billion for Capital Investment Grants transit projects. “New Starts” projects are funded at $1.5 billion, Core Capacity projects at $716 million and Small Starts projects at $400 million.

The Trump administration and President Donald Trump in particular have opposed federal funding of the Gateway project, saying that the states of New York and New Jersey needed to spend more of their own money for most of the project.

The project involves building a new Tunnel under the Hudson River and replacing the century-old Portal Bridge on the NEC.

There has been speculation that Trump opposed the Gateway project as retribution to New York and New Jersey Congressmen and Senators who opposed a tax cut bill that he favored and which Congress passed last December.

At one point Trump had threatened to veto any bill containing federal funding for Gateway.

The 2018 budget will circumvent the Trump administration’s opposition to federal funding of the Gateway project.

Amtrak is likely to contribute a minimum of $388 million to Gateway though its Northeast Corridor Account, while New York and New Jersey will receive $153 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s High-Density States and State of Good Repair grant programs.

Gateway is projected to receive 60 percent of the original federal dollars intended for it.

The budget bill ensured that the U.S. Department of Transportation will have limited ability to withhold the $650 million earmarked for the Northeast Corridor Account, which also funds projects throughout the region.

DOT Taking TIGER Grant Applications

September 8, 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking applications for its TIGER grant program.

The program has $500 million set aside that will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that have a significant impact on the United States, a metropolitan area or a region.

Federal legislation recently approved by Congress mandates that TIGER grants must be between $5 million and $25 million with the minimum for rural areas set at $1 million.

The selection criteria remain about the same as in previous years, DOT officials said.

However, the 2017 TIGER program will afford special consideration to projects that emphasize improved access to transportation for rural communities.

TIGER applications are due Oct. 16. DOT will hold webinars on Sept. 13 and Sept. 19 to provide technical assistance for grant applicants.

Since the TIGER program was established in 2009, DOT has awarded $5.1 billion for capital investments in surface transportation programs.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration proposed ending the TIGER program in the fiscal year 2018 budget.

AAPA Critical of Proposed Funding Cuts

May 26, 2017

Another transportation interest group has come out in opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts for fiscal year 2018.

The Association of Port Authorities this week said the proposed cuts would reduce funding to programs that are “critically important to ports.” In a statement, the group singled out Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants and port security grants.

The AAPA said the Trump budget would reduce Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund outlays and assistance in reducing diesel emissions.

The group favors spending $66 billion in federal funds for port-related infrastructure over the next 10 years and investing $33.8 billion to maintain and modernize deep-draft shipping channels, as well as $32.03 billion to build vital road and rail connections to ports and improve port facility infrastructure.

The Trump budget does seek money for harbor deepening projects in Boston and Savannah, Georgia, but AAPA noted that Congress has authorized 15 such projects.

AAPA did say it was encouraged by the administration’s infrastructure proposal and favors the concept of using federal funds to leverage private sector investments. It said that competitive grants often attract non-federal dollars, including money from the private sector.

APTA Decries Proposed Grant Program Cuts

May 25, 2017

In a statement, the American Public Transportation Association was critical of plans by the Trump administration to end two grant programs that benefit public transit.

The administration’s fiscal year 2018 federal budget proposal seeks to end the Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery grants and to phase out the Capital Improvement Grants program.

“This budget proposal to eliminate critical public transportation infrastructure projects is inconsistent with addressing America’s critical transportation needs and helping America’s economy prosper,” said Richard White, APTA’s acting president and chief executive officer, in a news release. “These targeted cuts to public transit go directly against the president’s own calls for new infrastructure spending.”

An earlier “skinny budget” blueprint released by the White House had outlined the administration’s desire to slash both programs, but some public transportation officials had hoped that a backlash against those proposed cuts would change the administration’s mind.

APTA said that Congress has been annually funding the TIGER grant program “at significant levels.”

The proposed transit cuts would put 800,000 jobs at risk and a possible loss of $90 billion in economic output, APTA officials said, citing a recent economic analysis prepared for the association.

That analysis said the spending cuts would endanger $38 billion of already planned transit projects.

“We are extremely concerned with the administration’s proposal to phase out existing infrastructure programs that are putting people to work building projects that our communities need and support,” White said.

Trump Budget Slashes Amtrak Funding 45%

May 24, 2017

The Trump administration wants to slash Amtrak funding by 45 percent in fiscal year 2018.

The detailed budget proposed released this week proposed giving Amtrak $744 million.

In the current fiscal year, Amtrak received $1.4 billion. The cuts for next year include ending $289 for Amtrak’s long-distance train routes.

The budget document described long-distance trains as “a vestige of when train service was the only viable transcontinental transportation option. Today, communities are served by an expansive aviation, interstate highway, and intercity bus network.”

The document said Amtrak’s long-distance trains represent the greatest amount of Amtrak’s operating losses, serve relatively small populations, and have the worst on-time record.

The Trump administration would instead appropriate $1.5 billion for the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington.

[The Northeast Corridor] “faces many challenges, and the 2018 Budget proposal would allow Amtrak to right-size itself and more adequately focus on these pressing issues,” the budget document said.

Nonetheless, the Trump administration has proposed cutting funding for the development of New York’s Penn Station by 64 percent from $14 million to $5 million.

The Amtrak funding cuts make up the lion’s share of the 37 percent cut proposed by the Trump administration for the Federal Railroad Administration.

The agency’s parent organization, the U.S. Department of Transportation, would receive $16.2-billion in FY 2018, a decline of 12.7 percent over what it received in FY 2017.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s budget would drop by 37 percent from $1.7 billion to $1.05 billion while Federal Transit Administration will decline by 5 percent from its FY 2017 appropriation of $11.8 billion.

The FTA would receive $11.2 billion, which includes $9.7 billion for transit formula grants. The FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program for new starts would be cut by 43 percent from $2.16 billion to $1.2.

Funding would be continued only for programs that FTA is legally bound to support through full-funding grant agreements.

Funding for the Transportation Generating Economic Recovery grant program would be eliminated.

The budget document said projects that are attempting to receive TIGER funding could still earn grants through the Nationally Significant Freight and Highways Projects fund managed by DOT’s Build America Bureau.

The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation programs would remain in place, but receive no additional funding.

The National Transportation Safety Board would receive $106 million, which is no change from FY 2017.

The Surface Transportation Board would receive a $5 million boost to $37 million in order to implement regulatory changes under the STB reauthorization law of 2015.

The Trump administration budget proposal is likely to undergo numerous changes as Congress considers federal funding priorities for FY 2018.

Transit, Amtrak do Well in Budget Bill

May 3, 2017

A proposed federal budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 contains funding for public transportation and Amtrak, the American Public Transportation Association reported.

Congress is expected to vote on the budget this week to fund the federal government through Sept. 30.

The FY17 omnibus appropriations bill contains $12.4 billion in funding for the Federal Transit Administration, $657 million above the FY 2016 enacted level.

The transit formula grants total is $9.7 million while about $2.4 billion would go toward “New Starts” funding, including $1.5 billion for current Full Funding Grant Agreement transit projects.

Amtrak would receive a $75 million increase to $1.495 billion.

Also included in the bill is $199 million for positive train control funding authorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant program would receive $68 million; the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grant program would get $25 million; the Restoration and Enhancement Grants would get $5 million; and the Transit Security Grant program, $88 million.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program would be funded at $500 million.

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.

Akron, Cleveland Land TIGER Grants

August 3, 2016

Although no rail projects in Ohio received a TIGER grant for 2016 from the U.S. Department of Transportation, projects in Akron and Cleveland did receive funding.

Tiger grantsThe City of Akron received a $5 million grant that will be used to transform portions of South Main Street in downtown Akron into a green street corridor that will include bicycle and pedestrian facilities as well as a roundabout.

The city’s application said the project will make the street an attractive multi-modal corridor as well as improve the safety for pedestrians and nearby residents. The total project cost is $14.5 million.

The Cleveland Metroparks District received a $7.9 million grant to be used to build four miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails as well as a bridge leading to Lake Erie.

The application noted that the $16.4 million project will provide better access to jobs, public transportation and green space along Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.