Durbin, Murray, Collins, and Reed Introduce TIGER ACT

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), AND Jack Reed (D-RI) and introduced the bipartisan “Transportation Infrastructure Grants and Economic Reinvestment” (TIGER) Act. The legislation would authorize the Secretary of Transportation to provide grants and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans to States, local governments, ports, and transit agencies for critical transportation projects throughout the country.


“Illinois lies at the heart of our nation’s transportation network, and communities in my state – from Chicago to Alton – have seen the benefits of the TIGER Grant Program firsthand,” said Senator Durbin, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. “But our infrastructure needs remain high, and supporting a program that will invest in our highways, bridges, airports, rails, and port projects is critical to our economic future and the safety of travelers throughout the country.”


Illinois has been the second largest beneficiary of TIGER funding across the country, receiving twice as much money through the competitive program than through traditional federal highway funds distributed by formula. Since the program was first established in 2009, Illinois has received more than $270 million in TIGER funding to support critical transportation and infrastructure projects across the state including: the Warehouse District in Peoria, the Multimodal Facilities in Moline, Normal, Urbana, and Alton, the Chicago Lakefront Bridge in Bronzeville, and the CREATE project in Chicago.


“The TIGER program represents exactly the type of investment our country should be making--addressing our nation’s long-standing transportation needs while creating good-paying, American jobs,” said Senator Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. “I was proud to put the wheels in motion on this program during the depths of the recession when our nation needed jobs the most, but based on the demand that continues to this day, it’s clear, we can and should be doing so much more to help communities carry out projects that make our transportation systems safer and more efficient. This bipartisan bill will keep our nation’s economic momentum going in the right direction and I applaud Senators Collins and Durbin for being my partners in this effort.”


"One of my highest priorities in the Senate is working to ensure that our nation's transportation infrastructure does not fall into disrepair. Across the country, and in my home state of Maine, TIGER grants have been essential to rebuilding our infrastructure, getting our economy moving, creating jobs, and providing increased public safety,” said Senator Collins, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. “To date, the state of Maine has received more than $90 million for highway, bridge, airport, rail, and port projects. As the demand for this important funding remains, I look forward to working with Senator Murray to build on the success of the TIGER grant program by reauthorizing these critical economic investments."


“The TIGER program is critically important for states and local communities to help fund infrastructure projects that create jobs and spur economic growth, and we've seen the tremendous benefits of this program first-hand in Rhode Island," said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. "The competitive TIGER program funds projects all over the country that connect our communities and improve the efficiency of our supply chain, helping us compete in the global economy. We must continue to strengthen investment in our nation's transportation infrastructure, and I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the TIGER program and keep our country moving.”


The Department of Transportation’s TIGER program was originally created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in order to give local communities the chance to apply directly to the federal government for funding their highest priority transportation projects. The program invests in a variety of transportation modes, selects projects through a transparent, competitive and merit-based process, and requires the Secretary of Transportation to provide a full description of how applications will be evaluated. The grant program also ensures that projects across the country are funded, and includes several provisions to balance the needs of urban and rural areas. Demand for the program every year is dramatically higher than available funding. Just last year, the Department of Transportation received 797 applications requesting more than $9.5 billion in grant funding, 15 times the amount set aside for the program.