Posts Tagged ‘TIGER grants’

Senate Appropriations Committee passed 2018 transportation funding bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, July 27, which prioritizes funding for critical transportation projects, community development initiatives and core housing programs that serve the nation’s most vulnerable individuals.

The bill provides $60.058 billion, $2.407 billion above FY2017 enacted levels, to fund the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and related agencies. The bill was passed unanimously, 31-0.

The committee-passed bill places a priority on programs to improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of the nation’s transportation system, including increased funding for the TIGER grant program. The measure also emphasizes rental assistance and community development, providing funding for the Community Development Block Grant, HOME, and other programs.

“Our economy and the well-being of the American people benefit from responsible investments in American infrastructure and community development. This bill continues federal funding to support these objectives,” said Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). “Senators Collins and Reed have worked to balance national priorities within budget constraints. I am pleased to recommend this bill to the Senate.”

“This bipartisan bill is the product of considerable negotiation and compromise, and makes the necessary investments in our nation’s infrastructure, helps to meet the housing needs of the most vulnerable among us and provides funding for economic development projects that create jobs in our communities,” said U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairman of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “Our bill strikes the right balance between thoughtful investment and fiscal restraint, thereby setting the stage for future economic growth.”

Transportation Funding Highlights:

Transportation – $19.47 billion in discretionary appropriations for the U.S. Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2018. This is $978 million above the FY2017 enacted level.

•    TIGER Grants – $550 million, $50 million above the FY2017 enacted level, for TIGER grants (also known as National Infrastructure Investments).

•    Highways – $45 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program, consistent with the FAST Act. The bill also continues to allow State Departments of Transportation to repurpose old, unused earmarks for important infrastructure projects.

•    Aviation – $16.97 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $563 million above the FY2017 enacted level. This will provide full funding for all air traffic control personnel, including more than 14,000 air traffic controllers, and more than 25,000 engineers, maintenance technicians, safety inspectors and operational support personnel.

The bill also provides $1.1 billion for the FAA Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NextGen), and fully funds the Contract Towers program to help ease future congestion and help reduce delays for travelers in U.S. airspace. In addition, the bill rejects the proposed privatization of the air traffic control system and provides greater flexibilities for airports to make much-needed capacity improvements.

•    Rail – $1.974 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), $122 million above the FY2017 enacted level. This includes $1.6 billion for Amtrak for the Northeast Corridor and National Network, continuing service for all current routes. The bill also provides $250.1 million for FRA safety and operations, as well as research and development activities.

The bill also provides $92.5 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants program, of which $35.5 million is for initiation or restoration of passenger rail, $26 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants, and $5 million for Restoration and Enhancement grants.

•    Transit – $12.129 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), $285 million below the FY2017 enacted level. Transit formula grants total $9.733 billion, consistent with the FAST Act. The bill provides a total of $2.133 billion for Capital Investment Grants (“New Starts”), fully funding all current “Full Funding Grant Agreement” (FFGA) transit projects, which is $280 million below the FY2017 enacted level.

•    Maritime – $577.6 million for the Maritime Administration, $55 million above the FY2017 enacted level, to increase the productivity, efficiency and safety of the nation’s ports and intermodal water and land transportation. The Maritime Security Program is funded at $300 million.

The bill includes $32 million for State Maritime Academies (SMAs), and an additional $50 million for the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel. This training ship is essential for the SMAs to continue to provide the nation with a strong merchant marine workforce.

•    Safety – The legislation contains funding for the various transportation safety programs and agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation. This includes $908.6 million in total budgetary resources for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and $744.8 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Of this amount, $68 million is to complete the modernization of border facilities to improve inspections along the Southern border. The bill also includes $272 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to help address safety concerns related to recent pipeline and crude oil by rail accidents.

Click here to read the full press release from the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.

House Appropriations Committee releases details of 2018 transportation funding bill

On July 10, the House Appropriations Committee released the fiscal year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill, which includes funding for the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies.

Although the bill will fund many important transportation projects and agencies, including Amtrak, at the same time it eliminates funding for DOT’s TIGER grant program and prohibits any funding for the ongoing California high-speed rail project.

Tiger grant defunded

In effect since 2009, the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program provides funding to improve safety and economic opportunity. It has supported innovative projects including multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional projects and has improved access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities.

Since the program’s inception, the TIGER grant program has provided a combined $5.1 billion to 421 projects in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Demand is high in the TIGER grant program and 2016 saw requests that far exceeded the available funds allotted to the program.

If the House Appropriations bill passes as is, this valuable and much sought after program will be eliminated.

SMART TD reaction to bill

“These levels of funding for Amtrak are significant compared to the White House’s disastrous plan to eliminate long distance trains,” said John Risch, SMART TD national legislative director. “There is still a long ways to go in the process. We will continue to work with the entire House and Senate to strike the awful language regarding California high speed rail and try to get increased funding for both transit and passenger rail.

“In North Dakota, there is a nasty big-truck provision in the bill that would increase allowable truck weights to 129,000 lbs. – that needs to be removed,” Risch continued. “North Dakota’s roads and bridges are already being pounded by oil industry trucks and this terrible idea makes it final that passage road conditions will get far worse.”

Transportation Funding Highlights

Department of Transportation (DOT) – The bill includes $17.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2018. This is $646 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $1.5 billion above the President’s request. In total budgetary resources, including offsetting collections, the bill provides $76.7 billion to improve and maintain our nation’s transportation infrastructure.

The bill targets funding to programs and projects that will increase efficiency, safety, reliability and quality of life for the traveling public, and that will help improve commerce and economic growth.

  • Air – Included in the legislation is $16.6 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – $153 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $435 million above the request. This will provide full funding for all air traffic control personnel, including 14,500 air traffic controllers, 7,400 safety inspectors and operational support personnel. The bill also builds on several years of increased funding by providing over $1 billion for the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NextGen), and funds Contract Towers at $162 million. These investments will help ease future congestion and help reduce delays for travelers in U.S. airspace. In addition, the bill does not include new passenger facility and general aviation fees.
  • Highways – The bill allows $45 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program, which is $968 million above the fiscal year 2017 level. This funding mirrors the authorized levels and will provide much needed growth and improvements within America’s highway system.
  • Rail – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is funded at $2.2 billion, $360 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the request. The bill provides a total of $1.4 billion for Amtrak, of which $328 million is for the Northeast Corridor grants, and $1.1 billion is to support the national network. The bill also continues to require overtime limits for Amtrak employees to reduce unnecessary costs. Rail safety and research programs are funded at $258.3 million, equal to the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This will fund inspectors and training, plus maintenance and safety investments to the physical rail infrastructure, to help ensure the safety of passengers and local communities. The bill also provides funding for two authorized grant programs. It funds the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants at $500 million, which will address some of the $38 billion backlog on the Northeast Corridor – needs that must be addressed simply to sustain current rail services. In addition, the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grants are funded at $25 million, a reduction of $43 million from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Eligible activities include capital and safety improvements, planning, environmental work and research. The bill prohibits funding for high speed rail in California, the California High Speed Rail Authority, and for FRA to administer a grant agreement with the Authority that contains a tapered match. The bill prohibits the Surface Transportation Board from taking action regarding the construction of high-speed rail in California unless the Board has jurisdiction over the entire project.
  • Transit – The bill provides $11.75 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) – $662 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $526 million above the request. Transit formula grants total $9.7 billion – consistent with the authorization level – to help local communities build, maintain and ensure the safety of their mass transit systems. Within this amount, $1.75 billion is included for Capital Investment Grants, and $1 billion for “Full Funding Grant Agreement” (FFGA) transit projects. Core capacity projects receive $145 million in the bill, $182 million is included to fund all state and local “Small Starts” projects, and $400 million is included for new projects that provide both public transportation and inner-city passenger rail service. These programs provide competitive grant funding for major transit capital investments – including rapid rail, light rail, bus rapid transit and commuter rail – that are planned and operated by local communities. Bill language limits the federal match for New Starts projects to 50 percent.
  • Maritime – The legislation includes $490.6 million for the Maritime Administration, $31.9 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This funding level will continue to increase the productivity, efficiency and safety of the nation’s ports and intermodal water and land transportation. The Maritime Security Program is funded at the full authorized level of $300 million.
  • Safety – The legislation contains funding for the various transportation safety programs and agencies within the Department of Transportation. This includes $927 million in total budgetary resources for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – an increase of $15 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level – and $758 million is included for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), $113.6 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.  Also included is $268 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an increase of $3.7 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
  • Grants – The legislation eliminates National Infrastructure Investment grants (also known as TIGER grants), which were funded at $500 million in fiscal year 2017.

Click here to read the full press release from the House Appropriations Committee.

THUD allocates $56.5 billion to fund transportation

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) passed $56.5 billion legislation to fund its programs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The bill includes several positive allocations for rail:

  • $1.7 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration –  $76 million above FY 2016 enacted level
  • $525 million for TIGER Grants – $25 million above FY 2016 enacted level
  • $2.3 billion for Capital Investment Grants (New Starts) — $161 million above FY 2016 enacted level
  • Amtrak: $345 million for the Northeast Corridor and $1.075 billion for the National Network – total $30 million above FY 2016 enacted levels
  • New passenger rail grant programs created under FAST Act: $50 million for Consolidation Rail and Infrastructure and Improvement grants; $20 million for State of Good Repair grants; and $15 million for Restoration and Enhancement grants

The Senate also passed legislation that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through FY 2017. The legislation would authorize the appropriation of $155 million from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund for the Essential Air Service (EAS) for each of the FYs 2016 and 2017.

Both pieces of legislation face more hurdles before they become law, but we are pleased that they include positive developments for our rail and air members.

U.S. DOT awards $500 million in rail grants

DOT_Logo_150pxThe U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) last week unveiled its decisions in awarding the seventh round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. The agency announced it had awarded a total $500 million in grants to 39 projects in 34 different states, with some projects crossing state lines.

The awards followed the departments evaluation of 627 eligible applications, requesting a total $10.1 billion worth of projects — 20 times the program’s available funding. 

Read more from Progressive Railroading.

Substantial demand shows need for TIGER grants

TIGER 2015 applications totaled $9.8 billion, far exceeding the $500 million for the program

DOT_Logo_150pxWashington, D.C. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that applications to the U.S. Department of Transportation for its seventh round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants totaled $9.8 billion, almost 20 times the $500 million set aside for the program, demonstrating the continued need for transportation investment nationwide. The demand for infrastructure investments from across the nation, and for all types of transportation projects, has been overwhelming.  Among the 625 applications received this year, 60 percent are road projects, 18 percent are transit projects, and 8 percent are rail projects; with port and bicycle-pedestrian applications each representing 6 percent of the total. The Department received 625 eligible construction applications from all 50 states and U.S. territories. There were 565 such applications in 2014.

“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,” Secretary Foxx said. “That is why we proposed doubling TIGER in the GROW AMERICA Act.”

Earlier this year, the Department reintroduced an improved surface transportation reauthorization bill, the GROW AMERICA Act.  The bill would provide $7.5 billion in funding over six years for the TIGER grant program. Under the GROW AMERICA Act, the TIGER grant program will be available for another six years, extending a proven track record of helping communities coordinate innovative, multi-modal transportation projects that serve the diverse travel needs of their residents and businesses in the 21st Century.

The highly competitive TIGER program, which began as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, offers federal funding possibilities for large, transformative multi-modal projects.  These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, state and local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies.  The $584.1 million awarded under TIGER 2014 supported 72 capital and planning transportation projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

Congress provided the most recent funding as part of the bipartisan Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, signed by President Obama on December 16, 2014.

Since 2009, the TIGER grant program has provided a combined $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Demand has been overwhelming, and during the previous six rounds, the Department received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country.

More information about previous years’ TIGER grantees as well as this year’s application process can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/tiger.