Game-changing transportation grants spark competition

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AJC photo
AJC photo

AJC photo

A $47.6 million TIGER grant jump-started the Atlanta Streetcar. An $18 million TIGER grant also paved the way for the Southwest portion of the Atlanta Beltline.

History has shown that TIGER discretionary grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation can be game-changers, breathing life into big projects that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance of being built. And every local government wants its highway, rail, port, or transit project to be next.

Congress has dedicated more than $4.1 billion for six rounds of TIGER grants since 2009.

With $500 million up for grabs nationwide in the seventh round of TIGER grants that were announced in April, several local governments in metro Atlanta are hoping to get a share. But it won’t be easy.

About 950 pre-applications were received from local governments around the country, seeking nearly $14.5 billion in federal funds (for the record that’s 29 times the amount actually available).

Local applicants include:

  • The city of Roswell, for a project to build sidewalks, two roundabouts, and a reversible lane system.
  • The city of Johns Creek, to build a flexible lane on Ga. 141/Medlock Bridge Road.
  • Fulton County, to upgrade the I-285 and Cascade Road interchange.
  • The city of Atlanta, to extend the Streetcar line east to the Beltline/Krog Street Market area.
  • The city of Atlanta, to partner with the PATH Foundation to build a multi-use path on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Fulton Industrial Boulevard to Northside Drive with connection stubs for MARTA.
  • Cobb County, to create the Cobb Parkway Smart Corridor project, which adds transit signal prioritization to 35 signals on U.S. 41, transit queue jump lanes at six intersections, improvements to reduce vehicle delays at three intersections, arterial road detection and surveillance equipment and digital message signs.

The minimum award in urban areas is $10 million, the average award size is $14.5 million, and no more than $125 million can be awarded to projects in a single state. The deadline to apply was June 5. Grant winners will be announced sometime in the fall.

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