ASLA supports the authorization and funding of the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, which will increase opportunities for landscape architects to plan and design more multimodal transportation projects that allow all users to safely and efficiently access our nation’s rights-of-way.
Background & Analysis
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) is a supplementary discretionary grant program that was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. While Congress has not authorized the program, Congress has dedicated more than $5.1 billion for eight rounds of TIGER to fund projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or a metropolitan area.
TIGER has been extremely popular with state Departments of Transportation, local communities, and landscape architects, with applications far exceeding available funding in all eight rounds of funding. TIGER applicants must detail the benefits their project would deliver for five long-term outcomes: safety; economic competitiveness; state of good repair; quality of life; and environmental sustainability. The U.S. Department of Transportation also evaluates projects on innovation, partnerships, project readiness, benefit cost analysis, and cost share.
Currently, the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery grants program remains unauthorized by Congress. Instead, each year Congress must decide to continue the program by funding it through the appropriations process. In March 2017, President Donald Trump sent a budget blueprint to Congress that zeroed out funding for TIGER, thereby eliminating the program. ASLA, along with many transportation and other allied organizations opposed this recommendation and are advocating for the continuation and expansion of TIGER.
In 2015, Senator Patty Murray introduced S. 1748, a bill to authorize the TIGER grants program. Specifically, the bill would authorize the Secretary of Transportation to provide grants and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans to states, local governments, ports, and transit agencies for critical transportation projects throughout the country. The measure also provides for up to $20,000,000 for grants that pay for the planning, preparation, or design of eligible projects. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The 114th Congress ended on December 31, 2016, without any further action on the bill.