Just twelve months ago, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, investing in infrastructure upgrades that have helped keep tens of thousands of American workers employed during a period of economic distress as well as created new jobs.
Today USDOT is excited to announce TIGER discretionary grants of $1.5 billion to more than 50 projects from Maine to Hawaii, from Alaska to South Carolina.
DOT's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery discretionary grant program is a crucial part of the Recovery Act. We're trying to help build high-priority innovative transportation projects that were difficult to fund through traditional programs--projects that create jobs, stimulate economic activity, and help develop livable communities.
Were there a lot of projects out there that fit such criteria? You bet there were. In fact, DOT received more than 1,400 applications seeking more than $60 billion in support. Now that is an overwhelming number of interesting and useful projects that testifies to the vitality of American transportation planning.
The range of project awards bears that out. From freight rail to streetcars, from roadways to waterways to bikeways, we are affirming the truly multi-modal nature of American transportation.
Another great feature of these grants is that TIGER has spurred new alliances and partnerships as states, regions and communities have come together to address their transportation challenges. Many of these stakeholders are getting direct access to Federal funds for the first time.
And 60% of our TIGER funding will go to economically distressed communities, home to 39% of the U.S. population.
When considering TIGER applications, we had specialists from all over DOT rigorously evaluating projects based on four criteria:
But the process of rigorous evaluation does not end with the awards. No, we are absolutely committed to tracking the performance of these TIGER projects and their contributions to economic recovery and our long-term goals.
And Congress has already recognized the value of these projects and of the TIGER discretionary model. They have provided another $600 million to allow at least one more round of aligning multi-modal transportation investments with critical national goals.
This is not just another grant program; this is a new way of recognizing merit, a way that breaks through old formulas and rewards American innovation that serves American communities.
In coming days, DOT looks forward to presenting readers the details of some of our TIGER projects. In the meantime, this link I heartily encourage you to look through the project descriptions for yourselves.