‘Overwhelming’ TIGER III demand

The latest grab for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery cash prompted a record-breaking response, demanding $14.1bn in funding from a $527m pot. The grant money can be used to fund public-private partnerships.

Expect fierce competition for the $527 million set aside in the TIGER programme as the application process closed with a total of $14.1 billion in requested assistance.

TIGER, short for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, debuted in 2009 as part of the US stimulus programme. Now in its third incarnation, TIGER is overseen by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), which has a license to dole out money from the programme to construction work deemed vital to building and repairing infrastructure throughout the country.

The DOT received 828 applications for TIGER III funding. The application process opened in July with a focus on supporting “critical” infrastructure activity that “might not move forward without this infusion of funding”.

DOT secretary Ray LaHood called the “tremendous” demand for TIGER indicative of a country that “cannot wait any longer” to upgrade transportation infrastructure. He went on to characterise the US “transportation system” as “crumbling”.

In November, President Obama told the DOT to expedite application review for TIGER III, with a deadline set for year-end. LaHood has publicly stated that he wants to finish the process by December 31, leading the Washington Post to dub him “the Christmas Grinch” for forcing his staff to work over the holiday season.

In 2009 and 2010, the DOT received a request for a total of $76 billion in grant money, exceeding the $2.1 billion available for TIGER I and TIGER II.

In public-private partnership (PPP) funding, TIGER has financed $46 million of the Presidio Parkway project in California. The parkway is intended to be an access ramp to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.