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TIGER grants fund bicycling

Today the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $1.5 billion in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants, known as TIGER grants. The money was intended to go to important and innovation projects that are difficult to fund through traditional channels. They received 1,400 applications for $60 billion worth of projects. Knowing that, the $1.5 billion that was awarded looks small and inevitably disappoints the strong applicants that were not funded. Bicycling advocates, in particular, had high expectations, thus there is a certain let down accompanying the announced projects — even though 16 projects explicitly include bicycling components.


The grant’s four criteria were 1. Long-term outcomes (helping achieve a state of good repair; stimulating economic competitiveness; improving safety; enhancing livability; developing sustainability), 2. Job creation and economic stimulus, 3. Innovation, and 4. Partnerships. You can see the breakdown of application categories here.

A few themes emerged among funded applications. The funding for bicycling projects frequently included:

  • Multi-modal transportation facilities – access and storage
  • Bridge crossings
  • Completing bike/ped networks, and
  • Lanes along main corridors

The first bullet reinforces a recommendation we also make regarding CMAQ applications, that proposals connect bicycling to transit to extend transit catchment areas and increase the length of the car trips that can be replaced by bicycling to mitigate congestion and emissions.

Some disappointments:

Portland, OR applied for 21 different grants and had big ambitions for bicycling projects, but only one got funded – it will add a streetcar line and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Kansas City, MO/KS put together an excellent application. You can see how they calculated the miles, trips, benefits, and cost in the appendices using resources on the economic impacts of investing in bicycling. They calculated a ten to one return on investment for their proposed project. Kansas City received badly needed funds for sidewalk access to bus stop in what they call a Green Impact Zone. Unfortunately, the bicycling component was stripped out. Brent Hugh from Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation believes Kansas City’s focus on recreational riding hurt their application’s chances.

The good news is there are now dozens of strong projects conceived of and proposals written that can be worked on in the future. (UPDATE: The other good news, which I may have not sufficiently trumpeted earlier, is that there are now 16 projects that include bicycling components and another nine that fund pedestrian projects that would not have been funded without this grant. This is a brand new infusion of funding that we would not have seen without the stimulus. That is a very good thing.)

Here is the complete project list from the DOT. America Bikes has a press release and a list that include pedestrian projects. Read more below to see the successful applications that include bicycling components. It is well worth a look at the following list.

Philadelphia Area Pedestrian and Bicycle Network

Philadelphia, PA & Camden, NJ

Total Cost: $54,800,000

TIGER Funding: $23,000,000

Project Description: The overall project will repair, reconstruct and improve 16.3 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that will complete a 128-mile regional network in six counties around Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. TIGER funds will be used to improve the primary commuter routes closest to downtown, in some of the communities hardest hit by the current economic downturn including Southwest Philadelphia and Camden, NJ. Non-motorized commuting options will connect residents in these areas to more prosperous communities that provide employment opportunities, including Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, NJ. (UPDATE: See the League’s response to an ill-thought-out criticism from the Washington Examiner.)

Indianapolis Bicycle and Pedestrian Network

Indianapolis, IN

Total cost: $62,500,000

TIGER funding: $20,500,000

Project description: The project will complete the eight-mile urban bicycle and pedestrian network in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. The network will connect the downtown districts of Mass Avenue, Indiana Avenue, the Canal Walk and White River State Park, the Wholesale District, and Fountain Square along with many other commercial and business destinations.

Revere Transit Facility & Streetscape

Revere, MA

Total cost: $122,585,262

TIGER funding: $20,000,000

Project description: The project will reconfigure acres of dilapidated and aging surface parking lots into a vertical multi-modal transit facility and plaza, linking automobiles, transit, pedestrians and bicyclists in a hospitable environment that encourages alternative transportation options. The project will also construct a multi-modal, pedestrian-focused streetscape along Ocean Avenue that connects local neighborhoods, the Revere Beach Reservation and transit. This will improve operations of Route 1A, especially bus, car and freight movements in and out of the Wonderland area.

Burlington Waterfront North Project

Burlington, VT

Total cost: $3,915,000

TIGER funding: $3,150,000

Project description: The project involves the rehabilitation, reconstruction and upgrading of a 1,355 foot section of Lake Street–the principal north-south access roadway servicing the downtown waterfront–and the realignment and improvement of a section of the Waterfront Bike path that traverses the project area. The area suffers from inadequate or non-existent transportation infrastructure, which restricts public access, creates significant safety concerns and limits economic development potential.

Normal Multimodal Transportation Center

Normal, IL

Total cost: $47,400,000

TIGER funding: $22,000,000

Project description: The Normal Multimodal Transportation Center will create a centralized transportation hub connecting the town of Normal’s aviation, rail, bus, automobile and pedestrian facilities. Normal is located in the heart of Illinois along a major rail corridor between Chicago and St. Louis, and at the intersection of three interstate highways(I-55, I-74 and I-39), resulting in high levels of intercity bus traffic. The planned Transportation Center is less than four miles from the Central Illinois Regional Airport, and the Center’s location will strategically sit on the primary leg of a heavily used 26-plus-mile dedicated bicycle and pedestrian pathway connecting Normal with Bloomington. Several offsite roadway improvements incorporated into Normal’s Uptown renewal plan will enhance livability in conjunction with the Multimodal Transportation Center.

Saint Paul Union Depot Multi-Modal Transit and Transportation Hub

Saint Paul, MN

Total cost: $237,500,000

TIGER funding: $35,000,000

Project description: The project will renovate the city’s historic Union Depot and co-locate Amtrak, intercity bus carriers, local bus, light rail services, taxis, and bicycle accommodations. The depot is in the heart of downtown Saint Paul and its redevelopment presents an opportunity to promote economic growth and create a vibrant, multi-modal transportation center. The depot could provide future capacity for high-speed rail and other planned inter-city and light rail services.

Ames Intermodal Facility

Ames, IA

Total cost: $43,366,650

TIGER funding: $8,463,000

Project description: The project will construct an Intermodal Transportation Facility in Ames, which will link public and private transportation modes (public transit, intercity bus carriers, regional airport shuttle services, carpools/vanpools, taxis, bicycle commuters and pedestrians) for Ames and the Central Iowa region. Currently, the local transportation facilities are not connected and do not provide access to the private carrier services that are located more than two miles from public transit routes in an industrial area.

Milton-Madison Bridge Replacement

Milton, KY& Madison, IN

Total cost: $131,000,000

TIGER funding: $20,000,000

Project description: The project will replace the existing Milton-Madison Bridge (US 421) , constructed in 1929. The bridge provides a link between the communities of Milton, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana. The existing bridge is both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete by today’s standards. An estimated 10,700 vehicles cross the bridge each day.

Kent Central Gateway Multimodal Transit Facility

Kent, OH

Total cost: $26,709,525

TIGER funding: $20,000,000

Project description: The project will construct a new bus transfer facility in downtown Kent with parking spaces to support planned development. The facility will include commercial space and bicycle storage to improve transit accessibility in Kent and linkages to Cleveland and Akron. The Transportation Authority’s current bus transfer facility is in a parking lot on the Kent State University campus. Only Kent State University permit holders may park in this parking lot and automobile and bus traffic are not separated.

I-244 Multimodal Bridge Replacement

Tulsa, OK

Total cost: $86,720,000

TIGER funding:  $49,480,000

Project description: The project replaces an existing facility which currently has poor sufficiency ratings, high maintenance costs and excessive lane closures due to maintenance activities. The reconstructed bridge —Tulsa’s first multimodal crossing—will accommodate highway, high-speed intercity and commuter rail, and pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Mercer Corridor Redevelopment

Seattle, WA

Total cost: $221,400,000

TIGER funding: $30,000,000

Project description: The project involves the reconstruction and realignment of the main roadway through the growing biotechnology hub in South Lake Union, connecting a number of urban centers to I-5 in Seattle. The project will build multi-modal improvements along Mercer and Valley Streets, including widening Mercer to create a two-way boulevard, reconstructing Valley Street as a local access street, providing new and wider sidewalks, improving connections to transit and adding bicycle lanes.

Portland’s Innovation Quadrant—SW Moody Street & Streetcar Reconstruction

Portland, OR

Total cost: $66,532,551

TIGER funding: $23,203,988

Project description: TIGER funds will be used to reconstruct SW Moody Avenue in the South Waterfront area. The project will elevate the roadway by 14 feet to cap contaminated soils. It will include three traffic lanes, dual streetcar tracks and pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The project will introduce infrastructure investment to support future development.

Black River Bridge Replacement

Port Huron, MI

Total cost: $78,610,975

TIGER cost: $30,000,000

Project description: TIGER funds will be used to construct a new Black River Bridge to replace the existing structure built in 1963. The bridge replacement is part of the integrated $583 million Blue Water Bridge Plaza Expansion Project. The Blue Water Bridge connects Port Huron, Michigan with Canada. The overall project will expand the existing international border crossing plaza, improve the approaching I-94/I-69 corridors including some interchanges, relocate a city street, relocate an electrical substation and replace the International Welcome Center. The TIGER-funded portion of the project replaces the existing aging bridge over the Black River with a modern facility separating international and local traffic.

Millwork District Multimodal Improvements

Dubuque, IA

Total cost: $6,200,000

TIGER funding: $5,600,000

Project description: The project is a Complete Streets project, which will help create a vibrant environment for the people that live and work in the Historic Millwork District in downtown Dubuque. The objective of the Complete Streets project is to design streets that are attractive, convenient and safe for a broad range of users, including drivers, public transit, pedestrians, bicyclists, people without access to automobiles, children and people with disabilities.

US 395 North Spokane Corridor –Francis Ave. to Farwell Rd. Southbound

Spokane, WA

Total cost: $35,000,000

TIGER funding: $35,000,000

Project Description: The project will build 3.7 miles of southbound US-395 from Francis Avenue to Farwell Road in Spokane County to complement the existing northbound lanes. The northbound lanes are currently being used in a limited fashion for both north and southbound traffic. The build-out of the southbound lanes will divert traffic onto this facility, which will alleviate traffic on local roads. The full project, once complete, will provide a necessary link between I-90 on the south end and existing US-2 and US-395 on the north end. Includes a parallel pedestrian/bike path, park-and-ride lots and preservation of right-of-way for high capacity public transportation

U.S. 36 Managed Lanes/Bus Rapid Transit

Denver, CO

Total cost: $160,000,000 to $260,000,000

TIGER funding: $10,000,000, with optional innovative financing enhancements to support a direct loan for up to one-third of the project costs

Project Description: TIGER funds will be used to create the Managed Lanes/Bus Rapid Transit Project on a portion of U.S. 36 from Boulder to Denver. The project includes one managed lane in each direction on US-36; bus rapid transit operations for the corridor; a commuter bikeway; and an intelligent transportation system for toll collection and incident management. U.S. 36 is the only direct highway connection between Boulder and Denver and use of the corridor continues to expand rapidly with the area’s continued growth. The highway currently carries between 80,000 and 100,000 vehicles daily, operating at close to 90 percent capacity. The project sponsor for the US-36 Managed Lanes/Bus Rapid Transit project will also have the opportunity to work with the USDOT on an innovative financing approach, which would include a direct loan for the project through the USDOT’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act credit assistance program.

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