Bay Area Transportation Projects Get $76 Million
This week the last chunk of transportation stimulus funds were awarded when U.S. Department of Transportation announced $1.5 billion in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant awards for over 50 high-priority transportation projects across the country. More than $57 billion of projects were submitted to DOT; with only $1.5 billion available for the TIGER program, competition was fierce. When awards were announced this week, two important Bay Area projects came out in the winner’s circle:
- $46 million for the Doyle Drive safety reconstruction project
- $30 million for Port of Oakland’s “Green Trade Corridor” emission reduction project (including electric shore-power for cargo vessels, and a new barge system that connects to the Ports of Stockton and Sacramento)
Congress created the TIGER grant program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to fund transportation projects that “have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or region.” In a departure from typical practice, the TIGER program has no formula component; instead, the Secretary of Transportation was given the full authority to pick the best projects from across the nation. A similar model was applied to stimulus funds for high speed rail, perhaps signifying that the Obama Administration intends to play a much more hands-on role in guiding federal transportation investments than in the past.