TIGER VIII: Rail projects receive more than $135 million

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor
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BART received a $6.3 million TIGER grant to refurbish its 19th Street Oakland station.

Twelve rail projects totaling $135.3 million have been awarded grants from the eighth round of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

The majority of the project awards were announced yesterday through elected officials. The July 29 announcement from USDOT included awards for an additional rail projects in California, Oregon, South Carolina, Arkansas and Delaware.

Projects that are rail specific or rail related that will benefit from TIGER VIII include:

  • $25 million to the city of Chicago for the Garfield Green Line Gateway. The $50 million project will completely rehabilitate the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Garfield Station, which is one of the oldest transit stations in the country. CTA is finalizing designs for the work, which is expected to begin in 2018 and be completed by 2019.
  • $15 million to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to separate the roadway and rail tracks at the intersection of Rosecrans and Marquardt Avenues in Santa Fe Springs, which sees more than 45,000 vehicles and 130 train crossings daily. This intersection has been rated by the California
    Public Utilities Commission as the most hazardous grade crossing in California.
  • $14 million to the city of Springfield, Ill., for the Springfield Rail Improvements Project. The project will relocate all passenger and freight traffic from the Third Street corridor to Tenth Street; construct roadway underpasses at critical rail crossings on both the Tenth and Nineteenth Street corridors; and eliminate train horns in the city between Stanford and Sangamon Avenues.
  • $13.1 million to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to build a new commuter rail station between Dexter and Conant Streets in Pawtucket. RIDOT will work with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to provide service at the station, which will offer a connection to Wickford Junction, T.F. Green Airport, Providence, as well as other stops all the way up to Boston’s South Station.
  • $10 million to the city of Natchez, Miss., to upgrade five structurally-deficient bridges along the Natchez railway between Natchez and Brookhaven. The bridge repair work would permit railcars that meet the 286,000-pound industry standard to traverse the bridges and allow trains to travel at 25 mph over the repaired bridges. Trains are currently limited to lighter loads and must travel at 10 mph over the bridges.
  • $10 million to the Port of Everett in Washington state for the South Terminal modernization project. The project will strengthen on-dock facilities and double the port’s rail capacity by constructing approximately 3,300 lineal feet of rail to increase on-site storage from 46 cars to 106 cars.
  • $10 million to the Delaware Transit Corporation for the Claymont Regional Transportation Center. The $40 million project will expand and redesign Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s rail station at Claymont with Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant features and integrate it with a transit-oriented development.
  • $9.7 million to Horry County Government in South Carolina for the Moving the Carolinas Forward: A Rural Freight Rail Project. The freight rail route between Mullins, S.C. and Chadbourn, N.C., will be rehabilitated by replacing more than eight miles of existing rail, install more than 50,000 crossties, surfaces approximately 75 miles of track and upgrade more than two dozen grade crossings.
  • $8.67 million to the San Bernardino Associated Governments for the Redlands Passenger Rail Project. The $250 million project will build nine miles of track for new passenger service between San Bernardino and the University of Redlands.
  • $7.3 million to the Port of Portland for the Portland Marine Terminal Freight and Jobs Access Project. The $19.54 million project will build a grade separation to relieve travel delays of trucks and trains accessing the port.
  • $6.3 million to San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit to refurbish the 19th Street Oakland BART station, including better bicycle and pedestrian access.
  • $6.15 million to the Little Rock Port Authority for the Little Rock Port Authority Growth Initiative. The $10.2 million project will build improvements to the slackwater harbor area, including a new dock with direct dock-to-rail capability and additional rail storage.

Additionally, Utah Transit Authority (UTA) was awarded a $20 million TIGER grant and the Maryland Department of Transportation (Maryland DOT) was awarded a $10 million grant. While the grants will not build any rail infrastructure and are not included in the total for rail projects, UTA plans to use the money on several smaller projects to improve access to transit and Maryland DOT will use a portion of its funds for a subway station improvement.

USDOT had $500 million available for this round of TIGER, but received 585 applications requesting $9.3 billion. Since 2009, TIGER has provided nearly $4.6 billion to 381 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including 134 projects to support rural and tribal communities. Overall, the U.S. Department of Transportation has received more than 6,700 applications requesting more than $134 billion for transportation projects across the country.

With addition of the latest round of awards, approximately 72 rail specific or rail related projects have been awarded more than $1.12 billion in TIGER grants since the program’s inception.

In 2016, USDOT said its focus for the TIGER program was on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural.

Editor’s note: This version updates figures and projects based on USDOT’s official TIGER grant press release.