Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Round Four TIGER Grants Leverage $1.7 Billion In Construction Spending

Last Friday the US Department of Transportation announced $485 million in round four TIGER grants for infrastructure construction across the nation. The list includes 47 projects in 34 states and Washington, D.C. Thus far, the TIGER program has handed out a total of $3.1 billion funding 218 infrastructure construction projects. The 47 round four grant winners were chosen from among 703 applications requesting $10.2 billion. The federal grant dollars are leveraging a total of $1.7 billion in construction outlays by state and local governments.

The third largest grant among round four projects is a $20 million grant to the Chicago Transit Authority, to partially fund construction of $140 million in improvements to the CTA’s 95th street rail and bus terminal on Chicago’s south side. The Chicago area is also getting a second grant of $10.44 million for completion of railroad switching and signal improvements along the Western Avenue rail corridor, which will speed both Amtrak travel between Chicago and St. Louis, and commuter rail traffic in the METRA Heritage Corridor between Chicago and Joliet. The $17.7 million project also includes construction of interconnecting rail tracks between BNSF, Norfolk Southern and CSX, to reduce conflict between commuter passenger trains and freight rail traffic.

TIGER is one of the most popular programs among the infrastructure construction programs passed through Congress in 2009 as part of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus legislation. Unfortunately, the stimulus appropriations for “shovel ready” construction have not been spent at the anticipated rate, and the construction economy continues to suffer as a result.

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