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The U.S. Department of Transportation late last week announced the 41 recipients of nearly $500 million in discretionary grant funding for road, transit, maritime and rail projects through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.The list included more than $100 million in grants for rail-related projects. More than 64 percent of the funding was awarded to rural projects, a "historic number" that demonstrates the Trump administration's interest in supporting rural communities, USDOT officials said in a press release."TIGER grants are targeted investments for our local communities that will increase safety, create jobs and modernize our country's infrastructure," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
Primary selection criteria for TIGER awards include considerations for safety, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, quality of life and environmental sustainability for each project. Secondary criteria include innovation and partnerships.
The criteria used to select projects for these grants were similar to the administration's infrastructure principles of supporting economic vitality and promoting innovation, department officials said.Projects involving rail that received grants this year include:• Mid-Atlantic multimodal transportation hub, Baltimore County, Maryland, $20 million. The project involves construction of cargo-handling facilities at the rail-served Sparrows Point industrial facility in East Baltimore as part of a larger investment program to repurpose a former steel manufacturing site with marine service into a multimodal logistics hub.• Blue Ridge Road grade separation and intersection improvements, North Carolina Department of Transportation, $19.9 million. The project will eliminate a grade crossing by lowering the Blue Ridge Road from its existing grade to pass under the North Carolina Railroad right of way.• Route 3, Ramp A and bridge over rail lines, New Jersey Department of Transportation, $18.3 million. The grant will go toward the cost of replacing existing, structurally deficient Route 3 bridge over two rail lines and the nearby Ramp A adjacent to the North Bergen park-and-ride facility.• Southwest Chief Route stabilization project, Colfax County, New Mexico, $16 million. Crews will replace 60-year old bolted rail, associated turnouts and crossings for a net gain of 42 miles of rail in the La Junta subdivision between Hutchinson, Kansas, and Las Animas, Colorado.• Wabash River Rail Bridge infrastructure revitalization, Indiana Department of Transportation, $10 million. The project involves replacing two deteriorating freight-rail approaches to the Wabash River Bridge, which serves as a rail link from energy and agricultural suppliers of Illinois to river ports of Mt. Vernon, Indiana.• High Plains strategic freight-rail capacity improvement project, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, $9.9 million. The project involves improvements to a Class III regional freight network to accommodate unit trains of loaded 286,000-pound rail cars and increased operating speeds. • Barker Road grade separation, Spokane Valley, Washington, $9 million. The grant will fund an effort to replace an existing BNSF Railway Co. grade crossing at Barker Road with an overpass, close a second grade crossing at Flora Road and replace the intersection of Barker Road and Trent Avenue with a roundabout.• Repair of the Jaype-to-Lewiston rail line, Clearwater County, Idaho, $3.2 million. The project calls for the repair of three bridges along the rail line, debris removal from 18 bridges and repair of five washouts.