Sep 13th 2017 | Posted in Opportunities by Kristin Gordon

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced the opportunity to apply for $500 million in discretionary grant funding through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. The TIGER grants are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the United States, a metropolitan area or a region. The fiscal year (FY) 2017 Appropriations Act specifies that TIGER Discretionary Grants may not be less than $5 million, unless the project is located in rural area and then the minimum TIGER Discretionary Grant size is $1 million. The grants may also be as much as $25 million. The deadline to submit an application for the FY 2017 TIGER grant program is Oct. 16. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 appropriated $500 million, available through Sept. 30, 2020, for these National Infrastructure Investments. 

A webinar on How to Compete for TIGER Discretionary Grants will be held from 2-4 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Sept. 18 and 19. To register, visit the TIGER Webinar Series webpage.  

Providence, R.I., received a $13 million TIGER grant from the USDOT for a $17-million connector project. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring of 2018. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza unveiled a plan for transforming Kennedy Plaza into being less like a commuter hub and more likes New York City’s Bryant Park. 

The transformation will include confining bus stops to Washington Street, which will become two-way in the plaza and be restricted to buses only. Cars and other traffic will be directed onto Fulton Street, which will be two-way with parallel parking on both sides. At the center of the plaza, a new walkway will allow pedestrians to get from Fulton and Washington streets to the plaza and park. Space gained by reducing the bus presence will be improved with shaded seating, landscaping and public art. The bus area between the skating rink and Burnside Park will be removed, creating a single connected park from the Biltmore to the post office. Buildings will be added near the rink for offices, eateries and bathrooms. 

In 2015, Birmingham, Ala., was awarded a $20 million TIGER grant to support the development of the city’s first 15-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) route that will stretch from Five Points West to Woodlawn with 17 stops in between. A firm overseeing the project provided preliminary designs for the routes and buses that will serve 25 neighborhoods. Construction is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2018 and the city expects the BRT to be fully operational by the fall of 2020. The buses will be outfitted with Wi-Fi and “Traffic Signal Priority” sensors that will communicate with traffic lights, switching them from red to green, or prolonging the light, to allow the buses to remain running on time. Each bus will feature GPS tracking that will allow riders to monitor their progress from the waypoint stations at each stop. The buses will also have a dedicated lane, free of traffic. Plans also include efforts to revitalize the Five Points West business district that is now anchored by the state-of-the-art Crossplex, a 750,000-square foot, multi-purpose athletic and meeting facility.  

The city of Mobile, Ala., received a TIGER grant in 2016 of $14.4 million that is part of a $21.3 million project to transform Broad Street. The Alabama Department of Transporation and the city of Mobile will also be contributing $3.5 million and $3.3 million, respectively. The ALDOT funding will be used for a portion of the paving costs. The project will be conducted in phases and the first phase begins on Beauregard Street from Water to Congress streets. The second phase starts on Broad Street and stretches from Congress to Canal streets. The third phase continues on Broad Street from Canal to Baker streets. The fourth and final phase will connect Broad Street to the Three Mile Creek Greenway via Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. The project includes a reduction in lanes and the addition of landscaping as well as pedestrian and bike lanes. Construction is expected to begin in 2018. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation and Pendleton city officials have begun discussions on how to fund the redesigning of the Exit 209 interchange on Interstate 84. The Umatilla County commissioners approved an ordinance of support for the project at a recent board meeting. Commissioners support getting the interchange improved so there is a better flow of traffic.  Design documents for north side improvements will cost about $1 million. A redesign on the south side will be more complex since it well impact business on Southgate. The project will cost over $25 million and to help with funding, the city has considered applying for a TIGER grant.  

The city of Wilson started accepting bids this month on an $18 million project to improve the thoroughfare from Black Creek Road to Lipscomb Road. In 2015, the city received a $10 million TIGER grant to reinvest in the historic highway. In November 2016, the city received a $6.5 million allocation from the state that would enable the project to address a larger section of the infrastructure. In 2018, construction on the project will begin with raising medians, sidewalks and crosswalks along with improved stormwater systems in the area.

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