$527 Million Available through US DOT TIGER III Grant Program

July 06, 2011

The US DOT National Infrastructure Investment grant program (TIGER III) will provide $527 million for surface transportation projects across all modes. Funding will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a metro area, or a region.

The TIGER III program is very similar to the TIGER II program from 2010, with a number of minor changes:

• No funding is specifically set aside for the planning, preparation, or design of capital projects; however, these activities are eligible for funding as part of an overall construction project.
• An organization can be the lead applicant on no more than three applications.

Funding and Setasides

A total of $527 million is available. A number of set-asides were included in the legislation:
• At least $140 million will be provided to projects in rural areas (defined as outside an Urbanized Area of 50,000 or more population).
• Not more than $150 million can be used for subsidies under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.
• Not more than $25 million can be retained by US DOT for administration and oversight.

Grant Sizes

US DOT can make grant awards as small as $10 million and as large as $200 million. However, in rural areas awards may be as small as $1 million, and US DOT has indicated that the largest grants are likely to be less than $200 million. In the TIGER II program, grants ranged from $1 million to $47.6 million, with an average award of $13.25 million.

Matching Funds and Leverage

At least 20 percent of project costs must be provided from non-federal funds. However, projects in rural areas may receive up to 100 percent federal funding. US DOT will give priority to projects for which federal funding is required to complete an overall financing package. Projects can increase their competitiveness by demonstrating significant non-federal contributions.

Eligible Applicants

States, local governments, transit agencies, ports, metropolitan planning organizations and Native American Tribes, multi-state and multi-jurisdictional groups, among others, are eligible to apply.

Eligible Projects

All surface transportation capital projects are eligible, including highways and bridges, public transit, freight and passenger rail, and port improvements.

Application Process and Deadlines

Pre-applications providing basic information to validate eligibility must be submitted by October 3rd. Final applications are due October 31st.

Selection Criteria and Considerations

Primary Selection Criteria

Long-Term Outcomes: DOT will give priority to projects that have a significant impact on desirable long-term outcomes for the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. Applications that do not demonstrate a likelihood of significant long-term benefits in this criterion will not proceed in the evaluation process. The following types of long-term outcomes will be given priority:
State of Good Repair: Improving the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, with particular emphasis on projects that minimize life-cycle costs.
Economic Competitiveness: Contributing to the economic competitiveness of the United States over the medium- to long-term.
Livability: Fostering livable communities through place-based policies and investments that increase transportation choices and access to transportation services for people in communities across the United States.
Environmental Sustainability: Improving energy efficiency, reducing dependence on oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and benefitting the environment.
Safety: Improving the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and systems.

Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity: DOT will give priority to projects that are expected to quickly create and preserve jobs and promote rapid increases in economic activity, particularly jobs and activity that benefit federally-recognized economically distressed areas.

Secondary Selection Criteria

Innovation: DOT will give priority to projects that use innovative strategies to pursue the long-term outcomes outlined above.

Partnership: DOT will give priority to projects that demonstrate strong collaboration among a broad range of participants and/or integration of transportation with other public service efforts.

DOT will give more weight to the Primary Selection Criteria.

Additional Considerations

US DOT is directed to ensure an equitable distribution across geography, transportation modes, and between urban and rural areas.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s blog includes statistics from last year’s program.

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