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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT awards $600 million in TIGER VI grants for 72 transportation projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on Friday announced all the recipients of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) VI grants, several days after numerous members of Congress and state officials began to tout individual grant awards.

In the TIGER program's 2014 round of funding, the USDOT will provide grants totaling $600 million for 72 transportation projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The department received 797 applications for TIGER VI grants from 49 states, U.S. territories and D.C., up from 585 applications received in 2013 for TIGER V grants. The applicants requested TIGER VI grants totaling $9 billion, or 15 times the available funding, USDOT officials said in a press release.

"As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We're building bridges from Maine to Mississippi. We're creating ladders of opportunity for the middle-class and those seeking to enter the middle-class by investing in transit, road and rail projects from Los Angeles to Detroit to New York City, increasing access to jobs and quality of life."

The 2014 funding round included grants totaling more than $131 million for 17 rail- and transit-related projects, including:
• $20 million to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to upgrade Ruggles Station;
• $13 million to the city of Providence, R.I., to help build a streetcar system;
• $12.5 million for track improvements along Amtrak's Southwest Chief corridor in Colorado;
• $12.2 million for M-1 Rail, a 3.3-mile streetcar line developed by a public-private partnership in Detroit;
• $12 million to the South Dakota Department of Transportation to reconstruct a 41.6-mile portion of the state-owned MRC Railroad line between Chamberlain and Presho, including repairs to bridges and culverts, and the replacement of broken and damaged ties, to provide a vital link to grain elevators along the route;
• $11.8 million to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for Eastside Access project improvements;
• $10.3 million to the Bi-State Development Agency in St. Louis to build a new light-rail station and complete other improvements for the MetroLink transit system;
• $8.2 million to the Connecticut Department of Transportation to upgrade the New England Central Railroad's line from New London, Conn., to the Massachusetts border; and
• $5.8 million to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to rehabilitate portions of a 52-mile rail corridor to accommodate 286,000-pound rail cars.

Grants for port-related projects include:
• $25 million for the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge replacement project in Maine, which calls for replacing the bridge's rail component that helps support the transport of materials from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard;
• $20 million for the Port of Seattle's Terminal 46 modernization project;
• $15 million for the International Terminal Intermodal Gate Complex and Interstate 564 Connector project in Norfolk, Va.;
• $14.8 million to Essex County, N.J., to provide container terminal access and expand Port Newark;
• $10.8 million to the South Carolina Ports Authority for planned upgrades and improvements to the Wando Welch Terminal;
• $10 million for the Port of Lake Charles bulk terminal facility expansion in Louisiana; and
• $2.5 million to the Alaska Railroad Corp. to develop a master plan for its Seward port facilities.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion in grants for 342 projects in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The GROW AMERICA Act would authorize $5 billion over four years for additional TIGER funding, according to the USDOT.

"For every project we [now] select, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and grow the number of projects we could support," said Foxx.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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