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Tips on submitting a TIGER 3 benefit cost analysis

Back in July, we reported on the US DOT seminar How Lessons on how to compete for a US DOT TIGER Grant. Today, the US DOT’s Chief Economist Jack Wells hosted a webinar to describe what TIGER application reviewers are looking for in the project’s Benefit Cost Analysis section of the application. Here are the slides of the presentation; here’s the webcast. Applicants (agency staff and the advocates helping them) should thoroughly review the notice of funding availability (links to the original version that they requested comments on. No major changes were made.)

The webinar got deeper into the methodology of benefit cost analyses than can fit into a quick blog post. Here are a few points to consider, however:

  • The economists evaluate the credibility of the benefit cost analysis on a 1 to 4 scale
  • They are looking for positive net outcomes greater than one, but beyond that they’d rather see quality estimates than exaggerated estimates
  • It can be difficult to estimate livability benefits, but they really want to see estimated usage — ie estimated numbers of bicycling and walking trips
  • The notice of funding availability has a table of dollars values to calculate the emission-reduction benefits of mode shift
  • Much attention was paid to avoid “double counting” of benefits and the inclusion of all costs, see the notice of availability and webinar slides for more
Upcoming TIGER 3 seminars:
August 22th          Project Readiness/NEPA

August 24th          Public Private Partnerships & TIFIA

August 30th          MARAD Port Outreach


Archived TIGER 3 sessions:

2010                 Benefit/Cost Analysis Practitioner’s Workshop

July 18th           How to Compete for TIGER Seminar

July 27th           “Talking Freight”


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