TIGER Grant Winners to be Announced By February 17

The winners of $1.5 billion in merit-based transportation stimulus grants through the program known as TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) will be announced on or perhaps even before February 17, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood confirmed this week.

0905_AZ_News_PHX_Sky_Train.jpgA rendering of Phoenix's SkyTrain, which has applied for TIGER aid to link light rail with the airport. (Photo: SW Contractor)
Language in the Obama administration's first economic stimulus law required TIGER funding recipients to be named by February 17, and LaHood told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that word may come down "a day or two before that."

Metro and rural areas around the country are eagerly awaiting word on the fate of their TIGER applications. Nearly $57 billion in bids were submitted for the stimulus law's much smaller pot of transportation aid.

LaHood also addressed the fate of the $600 million that Congress included in its 2010 transportation spending bill for more grants in the vein of TIGER, which rewards projects that meet a core group of benchmarks -- including job creation and sustainability -- rather than running funds through often-politicized state DOTs.

That extra $600 million in TIGER grants will spark a new round of competition, LaHood said, with a second round of winners announced in the coming months.

The Transportation Secretary also broke some news relating to the White House's proposed National Infrastructure Fund, which has some key differences from previous congressional plans for an Infrastructure Bank located outside of the U.S. DOT. LaHood told lawmakers that "we will be proposing authorization language very soon" so that Congress can examine the details of the White House's Fund plan.