Boxer Aims to Put TIGER-Type Program in Next Federal Transport Bill

During an otherwise-abbreviated hearing yesterday, Senate environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA)  joined the chorus of praise for the stimulus law’s TIGER program, declaring her intention to add a version of the competitive infrastructure grants to the next long-term federal transportation bill.

IMG_0666.JPGBicyclists in Philadelphia, where $23 million in TIGER money was awarded to build new trails. (Photo: BCGP)

"People at home really think they’re very good," Boxer said of the TIGER grants, seeking advice from deputy U.S. DOT secretary John Porcari on how to write the program into her forthcoming six-year transportation legislation.

TIGER, short for Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery, awarded $1.5 billion to infrastructure projects that best met a series of criteria set by the Obama administration, including economic growth potential and environmental benefits. Transportation reformers have hailed the program as a first step in creating a federal system that funds projects based on merit rather than state-by-state formulas.

Porcari echoed that praise, describing TIGER as "the way to the future in intermodal transportation," but offered few details on how the program might be enshrined in the long-term legislation being drafted by Boxer’s panel. 

  • those dudes

    more important than making the process competitive is making sure the vast majority of funding doesn’t continue to go to highway expansion. the current federal transportation bill is set up so that big transit projects do compete for funding (woop-de-doo, they still only get a tiny piece of the overall pie), while road project funding is primarily doled-out based on a prescribed formula. sure, fiddling with how projects must compete could be a good thing, but there must be a total shift in the balance of funding toward non-auto uses if there is going to be any noticeable change…

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