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Winning TIGER 6 Funds
This post is cross posted from the Advocacy Advance blog and is authored by Christy Kwan.
The deadline for application for $600 million in federal TIGER 6 Discretionary Grant Programis April 28th. So what better time than April 1st to hold a free webinar on how to win those funds, featuring three experts on the subject? Advocacy Advance brought to together:
- Sahar Shirazi of Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT);
- Darla Letourneau of BikeWalkLee, FL; and
- Erik Frisch a transportation planner for City of Rochester, NY.
That’s a federal expert, a local advocate, and a city planner – all with direct experience with the program.
Many thanks once again to our presenters for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences with us. For anyone planning to apply for this round of TIGER, please watch the recorded webinar and download the PDF slides for helpful tips and inspiring stories from our speakers.
Recap from USDOT
Sahar laid out just what it is that USDOT is looking for. Highly competitive TIGER grants are open to any governmental entity for projects that are broadly multi-modal, and multi-jurisdictional. Applications should be outcome-based and use economic analysis and support agency performance measures. TIGER grants also support President Obama and Secretary Foxx’s priority of “Ladders of Opportunity” – projects that improve connections and remove barriers to employment centers and promote workplace development. This year there are grants for both capital projects and planning projects. Stay tuned to the end of the webinar recording for some additional clarifying questions and comments about planning grants.
Applicants should also be aware that Grants.gov will undergo maintenance the weekend before the deadline. Grants.gov’s Production System will go offline on Saturday April 26, 2014 at 12:01am eastern, and will return online on Monday April 28, 2014 at 6:00am eastern.Applicants are strongly urged to submit early before the Monday, April 28 – 5pm eastern deadline.
Lessons from a Local Advocate
BikeWalkLee’s Darla Letourneau told the story of the county’s Complete Streets Network application. They were able to focus political support on a single application (“It took some sharp elbows”). For their successful round, the county worked with the Alta Planning TIGER team to perfect their application. They made the case based two main points, one regional strength and one regional weakness – tourism and safety.
Also be sure to check out BikeWalkLee’s TIGER resource page, which is updated on an on-going basis.
Lessons from a City Planner
The City of Rochester’s application was to convert an underused inner loop highway into a multi-modal boulevard, including sidewalks and a bicycling cycle-track. City Planner Erik Frisch distilled their key lessons into the following:
- Get Your Political House in Order – There should be no disagreement among major elected officials, especially Congressional delegation.
- Have an Airtight Benefit Cost Analysis – USDOT needs to know that their investment will generate net positive returns. Also check out their detailed Benefit Cost Analysis for the Inner Loop.
- Be Ready to Go – Prove that your project can and will meet TIGER requirements for obligation.
- Plan for Success – Demonstrate that your project results from a thorough planning process.
- Multi-Modal – Emphasize the multi-modal benefits of your project; projects can’t be one-dimensional.
- If at First You Don’t Succeed… – USDOT staff are very willing to discuss your application and ways to improve it in the future
If at first you don’t success, try again. Both Lee County and Rochester, NY, won TIGER funds on their third application. Each round they received feedback to strengthen their application.
Build political support. Both locations built support from elected officials for their applications – local, state, and especially federal officials.
Work with TIGER staff. Don’t guess what project DOT wants to fund. Work with them to craft a success application – up to the application deadline, anyway. Visit the USDOT TIGER website for more info.