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On April 19, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released a Notice of Funding Availability for the fifth round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, according to the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association Inc. (NRC).The TIGER V program will provide a total of $474 million in discretionary grants to help fund freight- and passenger rail, transit, port, bridge and highway projects the USDOT believes will achieve critical national and regional objectives. Congress previously allocated $1.5 billion for TIGER I, $600 million for TIGER II, $527 million for TIGER III and $500 million for TIGER IV.TIGER grants can range from $10 million to $200 million. The FY2013 Appropriations Act requires that TIGER funds be obligated before Oct. 1, 2014. Applications for TIGER V grants are due to the USDOT by June 3.The grant application process is highly competitive: In the first four TIGER rounds, the USDOT received nearly 3,000 applications requesting more than $105 billion in grants and awarded a total of $3.1 billion to 219 separate projects, NRC officials said in a news bulletin."However, rail-related projects have fared well throughout the four rounds, garnering $1.6 billion out of the available $3.1 billion for 85 rail-related projects, including short line and Class I projects, port/rail infrastructure projects, intercity passenger-rail projects, grade crossings, rail transit and commuter-rail upgrades, and streetcar construction," they said.