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About TIGER Grants

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. Since 2009, Congress has dedicated more than $4.1 billion for six rounds to fund projects that have a significant impact on the Nation, a region or a metropolitan area.  As can be seen below, a variety of project types have been awarded:

The TIGER program enables DOT to examine a broad array of projects on their merits, to help ensure that taxpayers are getting the highest value for every dollar invested. This focus is especially important in the current era of fiscal constraint. In each round of TIGER, DOT receives many applications to build and repair critical pieces of our freight and passenger transportation networks. Applicants must detail the benefits their project would deliver for five long-term outcomes: safety, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, livability and environmental sustainability. DOT also evaluates projects on their expected contributions to economic recovery, as well as their ability to facilitate innovation and new partnerships.

The competitive structure of the TIGER program and its broad eligibility allow project sponsors at the State and local level to avoid narrow, formula-based categories, and fund multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects not eligible for funding through traditional DOT programs. TIGER can fund port and freight rail projects, for example, which play a critical role in our ability to move freight, but which are not eligible for any other sources of Federal funds. Similarly, TIGER can provide capital funding directly to any public entity, including municipalities, counties, port authorities, tribal governments, MPOs, or others in contrast to traditional Federal programs which provide funding to very specific groups of applicants (mostly State DOTs and transit agencies). This flexibility allows TIGER and our traditional partners at the state and local level to work directly with a host of entities that own, operate and maintain much of our transportation infrastructure, but otherwise cannot turn to the Federal government for support.

By running a competitive process, DOT is able to reward applicants that exceed eligibility criteria and demonstrate a level of commitment that surpasses their peers. While TIGER can fund projects that have a local match as low as twenty percent of the total project costs, TIGER projects have historically achieved, on average, co-investment of two non-Federal dollars (including State, local, private and philanthropic funds) for every TIGER dollar invested. The high-level of co-investment achieved through TIGER, and the ability to foster creative and innovative approaches to transportation investments, is demonstrated across all types of TIGER projects.

Program Background

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. Department of Transportation to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. Congress dedicated more than $4.1 billion to the program: $1.5 billion for TIGER I, $600 million for TIGER II, $526.944 million for FY 2011, $500 million for  FY 2012, $473.847 million for FY2013, and $600 million for the FY 2014 round of TIGER Grants to fund projects that have a significant impact on the Nation, a region or a metropolitan area.

TIGER's highly competitive process, galvanized by tremendous applicant interest, allowed DOT to fund 51 innovative capital projects in TIGER I, and an additional 42 capital projects in TIGER II. TIGER II also featured a new Planning Grant category and 33 planning projects were also funded through TIGER II. In the FY 2011 round of TIGER Grants, DOT awarded 46 capital projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico. DOT awarded 47 capital projects in 34 states and the District of Columbia in the FY 2012 round.  Last year the Department announced 52 capital projects in 37 states.

Each project is multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional or otherwise challenging to fund through existing programs. The TIGER program enables DOT to use a rigorous process to select projects with exceptional benefits, explore ways to deliver projects faster and save on construction costs, and make investments in our Nation's infrastructure that make communities more livable and sustainable.

Updated: Tuesday, March 4, 2014