After Big Push From Mayors, TIGER in Line For Slight Funding Boost

There’s good news out of the Senate committee responsible for doling out transportation funds.

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail was funded in part with a TIGER grant. Photo: Walk Indianapolis

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee okayed a small increase in TIGER funding, according to Stephen Lee Davis at Transportation for America. TIGER is the program that allows local governments to compete directly for transportation funds, circumventing state DOTs, and helps get a lot of walking, biking, and transit projects off the ground. It must be renewed every year, so its prospects are always in doubt.

If approved by the full Senate and House, the committee’s proposal would set TIGER funding at $525 million, a $25 million increase over the previous year’s budget.

Elected officials and civic leaders across the U.S. campaigned for funding TIGER. A letter signed by 25 mayors — including the mayors of Tallahassee, Kansas City, and Anchorage, Alaska — urge lawmakers to continue the program [PDF], noting that applications for TIGER grants have typically exceeded available funds by a factor of 10.

T4A’s Davis said the bill could be brought to a floor vote sometime this week. The same bill would also authorize $2.3 billion for New Starts, the grant program that funds major transit expansion projects, and $1.4 billion for passenger rail. Those funding levels are in line with what was laid out in the most recent federal transportation law.

  • lepeage

    I don’t understand why the budget for this has to be so enormous. In many cases, cities could do so much with very little. For example, how much does it cost for a city to create an effective system of protected bike lanes? Starting with an effective concept, proper execution, and enough support, the TIGER program could do so much for such less. Unfortunately, its future is most certainly at risk as cost-cutting measures will be at the front of this year’s government shift.

  • It’s actually a pretty small program. It funds about 50 projects. They aren’t all bike projects by any means either. http://usa.streetsblog.org/2015/05/01/putting-tiger-spending-in-perspective/

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