Wednesday, June 20, 2012

TIGER IV funding light on rail

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No official word from the U.S. Department of Transportation has been released regarding awards of the fourth round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, but news from various congressional offices is revealing what projects will benefit from the latest round of grants. The initial tally indicates rail related projects did not fare as well as they had in past TIGER funding cycles, but several key projects will see federal money.

Some of the rail related projects benefiting from the grants include:

• State of Illinois received a $10.4 million grant, which will complete a $370 million funding package of 15 local projects in the CREATE program. The projects include new track and signal systems that will ease freight, Amtrak and Metra congestion and support 3,300 jobs throughout the six-county Chicagoland area.

• The City of Chicago will use a $20 million grant to proceed with the Chicago Transit Authority's 95th Street Terminal Improvement Project. The station, located on the Red Line is the sixth busiest in the CTA system.

• An $10.9 million grant will be used to expand rail infrastructure at the West Memphis Port in Arkansas by strengthening current rail to allow for heavier cargo loads and extending the existing rail spur by approximately 13,500 feet to the base of the St. Francis Levee.

• An $18 million grant will go toward the first phase of the Fort Lauderdale Wave Streetcar Project that will eventually have streetcars running along a 2.7-mile corridor in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

• Vermont will use its $7.9 million grant to upgrade the New England Central Railroad in northern Vermont by rehabilitating 19 miles of track between St. Albans and the Canadian border in Alburgh with new rail, ballast and ties, and to make structural and deck repairs on six bridges.  These rail improvements also will accelerate efforts by the State of Vermont and Amtrak to expand passenger rail service along The Vermonter line to Montreal

• SEPTA's Wayne Junction Substation that provides power for half of the regional rail system will benefit from a $12.8 million grant.

USDOT is authorized to award $500 million in TIGER grants in 2012 and it received 703 applications for TIGER IV grants asking for a total of $10.2 billion from from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The previous three rounds of the TIGER program provided $2.6 billion to 172 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming and during the previous three rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 3,348 applications requesting more than $95 billion for transportation projects across the country.

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