What is a TIGER grant?
The Department of Transportation today began revealing which states have won TIGER grants. TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. The TIGER program is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, most commonly known as the economic stimulus plan.
The stimulus plan allocated $1.5 billion for the National Surface Transportation System, and that money is split into several TIGER grants that will go to several states. TIGER grants fund transportation projects such as street cars, highway repair, building new roads and improving public transportation. Here’s a list of a few of the projects that will be getting extra cash through TIGER grants.
Renovations in St. Paul, Minnesota
Though the stimulus plan only dedicated $1.5 billion to TIGER grants for transportation projects, the federal government received requests for about $57 billion. Long story short, states that get funding should consider themselves lucky. Also, most TIGER grants aren’t for the full amount that states applied for, they only supply partial funding for projects.
For instance, Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority in Minnesota applied for $135.8 million, and it is receiving a TIGER grant of $35 million. The money will go toward renovations on the Union Depot in St. Paul. Th Minnapolis Star-Tribune says “Ramsey County officials have long viewed the historic depot as a regional transit hub for trains, buses, taxis and bicycles.”
Street cars in Dallas
Though Ramsey County only got about a quarter of the funding for its project through its TIGER grant, Dallas fared a bit better — probably because its project is cheaper. Dallas will get a $23 million TIGER grant, a bit less than half of the $48 million it applied for.
Dallas’ TIGER grant will go toward a street car circulator. According to the Dallas Morning News, a Dallas City Counselor “said Dallas’ long term planning and commitment to building a walkable city were critical to winning the funding.” Dallas also has a plan in place to use city funds to complete the street car project.
Interstate in South Carolina
Percentage-wise, South Carolina didn’t fare very well with its TIGER grant, but that’s to be expected when a state asks for $300 million. South Carolina will get $10 million for its Interstate 73 project, which will create a long-awaited highway interchange in Dillon County.
Though the $10 million only funds 3 percent of the project, a South Carolina news station reports that “The grant includes optional innovative financing enhancements to support a direct loan for up to one-third of the project costs.” Some of the other projects that will get TIGER grant funding are restoring ports in Maine and expansion at Penn Station.