Price, Quigley Lead Opposition to Reduced TIGER Grant Funding and Eligibility
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives David Price (NC-04) and Mike Quigley (IL-05) led colleagues in the House in opposing measures in the 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill that would cut Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funding by more than 80 percent, to $100 million, and restrict eligibility to prevent funding for public transit, bike and pedestrian projects.
“Projects that have received TIGER funding are already helping communities across the country address transportation challenges, spur economic development, revive city centers and create regional transportation solutions,” said Rep. Price. “Unfortunately, the THUD bill drastically cuts the TIGER grant appropriation and narrows grant eligibility at a time when mayors and town managers are urging Congress to double down on this successful program. We believe we can do much better than the bill before us today.”
“TIGER grants fund critical infrastructure projects that are driving economic growth and job creation across America,” said Rep. Quigley. “Congress should be working together to make long-term investments in our crumbling infrastructure, yet today’s THUD bill compromises our ability to meet the transportation needs of our local communities. Given the popularity and success of TIGER grants, slashing funding and limiting eligibility is a dangerous and unacceptable move that makes zero sense.”
The House bill includes only $100 million for TIGER grants, which is a decrease of more than 80 percent from current FY14 funding levels of $600 million. Already in the current grant application round, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has received nearly 800 applications requesting a total of $9.5 billion dollars - a request of more than 15 times what can be awarded.
Further, the bill includes language that would restrict TIGER eligibility to roads/highways, bridges, freight rail and ports. This would be a significant change to the grant program, which has traditionally attracted a wide variety of innovative projects including public transportation and passenger rail, bicycle and pedestrian projects. Yet the 2014 update to the Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment Study notes that every $1 billion invested in these programs supports 21,800 jobs and generates $3 billion of additional business sales and $432 million in federal, state and local tax revenues.
The TIGER Discretionary Grant program provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. TIGER grants are open to all governmental entities from cities and counties to port and rail authorities and universities. To date, the program has provided $3.5 billion for 270 critical infrastructure projects covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.