The Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program is a federal grant program that funds projects within the federal trade corridors. The TIGER program was created in 2009 with the stimulus bill. It awards states grant money based on project type, mainly focusing on efforts that have a significant impact on an area’s infrastructure.
With the present Highway Trust Fund crisis, many states have suspended infrastructure projects due to a lack of funding. The vast number of TIGER applicants this year only reiterates the need for funding; out of the 629 applicants, only 39 were chosen. Still, that’s another 39 projects that can now be resumed. This year, the grant program focused on projects that considered the future of transportation, making the nation’s roads safer and more innovative.
More Places for Truckers to Park
The truck parking initiative is one of the biggest victors of the TIGER grant program. Finding safe and accessible parking has become more and more difficult for truck drivers. It’s such a concern that it’s actually contributed to the driver shortage. The truck parking initiative looks to optimize truck parking areas and make them easier to find. The initiative will use a combination of apps, websites, and other factors to optimize parking areas along major routes. Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin are included in the grant. The project cost is estimated at $28.7 million, and it received $25 million in grants.
Better Bridges in a Congested Area
The six canal bridges in Lowell, MA are in various states of disrepair and a major source of inconvenience. They’re currently under strict weight restrictions due to their poor conditions. Combined with the fact that Lowell, MA connects several major freight corridors, this means the inability to use these bridges creates significantly longer drive times. Currently, truckers must navigate through city detours, which creates even more congestion. The TIGER program awarded $13.4 million to the project that seeks to replace the bridges, which will cost an estimated $16.7 million.
Railway Overpass to Increase Safety and Efficiency
SR347 is a main corridor that connects Maricopa, AZ with areas in and around metro Phoenix. More than 30,000 vehicles use this corridor every day. Currently, there’s a dangerous area where a double-track rail line and the highway intersect. Increasing rail (almost 60 trains a day) and vehicle travel has caused this intersection to become a hotspot for accidents. The TIGER program awarded $15 million of the estimated $55 million it will take to create a highway overpass, completely bypassing the railroad. The project will improve driver safety and rail freight efficiency.
Faster Highway Access From a Busy Port
Baltimore is one of the fastest-growing ports in the United States. The new Port project will optimize the freight network that connects the port with nearby highway systems, including I-95. The Colgate Creek Bridge, which is currently under weight restrictions and in much need of repair, will be replaced, allowing trucks to move between the port and I-95 easily. The project will also redirect truck routes, making nearby neighborhoods safer and less congested. TIGER awarded the project $10 million out of the estimated $27.5 million it will need.
In addition to these projects, funding was awarded to efforts designed to improve rail and marine safety and transportation for commuters and pedestrians. TIGER’s total funding amounts to $500 million across the 39 projects.