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Frequently Asked Questions

How do/where can I access the application?

Final applications must be submitted through Grants.gov on or before April 28, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.  The Grants.gov “Apply” function will open on April 3, 2014, allowing applicants to submit final applications.  The grants.gov funding opportunity can be accessed here: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=253392

What if I am having technical issues with grants.gov?

Please refer to the following links for technical issues with grants.gov:

How do I determine if my project qualifies as being rural?

The TIGER Grant Program defines “rural area” as any area not in an Urbanized Area, as the term is defined by the Census Bureau. DOT considers a project to be in a rural area if all or a material portion of a project is located in a rural area.   Consult this page for Census maps of Urbanized Areas to determine if the project is located in urban or rural areas:

What are the objectives of the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program?

The FY 2014 Consolidated Act appropriated $600 million, available through September 30, 2016, for National Infrastructure Investments. This appropriation is similar, but not identical to the appropriation for the “TIGER” program authorized and implemented pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (The Recovery Act). Because of the similarity in program structure, DOT will continue to refer to the program as ‘‘TIGER Discretionary Grants.’’ As with previous rounds of TIGER, funds for the FY 2014 TIGER program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area or a region.

When are pre-applications due?

Unlike previous rounds, applicants do not need to submit a pre-application.

When are applications due?

The criteria for the TIGER Discretionary Grant program are announced in the notice of funding availability in the Federal Register.  Final applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by April 28, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.  The Grants.gov “Apply” function will open on April 3, 2014, allowing applicants to submit final applications.

Who can receive funds under the National Infrastructure Investments Discretionary Grant?

"Eligible Applicants” for TIGER Discretionary Grants are State, local, and tribal governments, including U.S. territories, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), other political subdivisions of State or local governments, and multi-State or multi-jurisdictional groups applying through a single lead applicant (for multi-jurisdictional groups, each member of the group, including the lead applicant, must be an otherwise eligible applicant as described in this paragraph).

What types of projects are eligible for TIGER Discretionary Grant funding?

Projects are eligible for TIGER Discretionary Grants under:

  • highway or bridge projects eligible under title 23, United States Code;
  • public transportation projects eligible under chapter 53 of title 49, United States Code;
  • freight rail projects;
  • high speed and intercity passenger rail projects; and
  • port infrastructure investments.

Federal wage rate requirements included in subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code, apply to all projects receiving funds.

What criteria will be used to evaluate applications for TIGER Discretionary Grants?

The TIGER Discretionary Grants Final Notice of Funding Availability outlines the selection criteria in detail. Grants will be awarded based on two categories of selection criteria, “Primary Selection Criteria” and “Secondary Selection Criteria.”

Primary Selection Criteria (Long-term Outcomes)

The Department will give priority to projects that have a significant impact on desirable long-term outcomes for the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The following:

  • State of Good Repair: Improving the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, with particular emphasis on projects that minimize life-cycle costs.
  • Economic Competitiveness: Contributing to the economic competitiveness of the United States over the medium- to long-term.
  • Quality of Life: Creating affordable and convenient transportation choices through place-based policies and investments that increase transportation choices and access to transportation services for people in communities across the United States.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Improving energy efficiency, reducing dependence on oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and benefitting the environment.
  • Safety: Improving the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and systems.

Secondary Selection Criteria:

  • Innovation: DOT will give priority to projects that use innovative strategies to pursue the long-term outcomes outlined above.
  • Partnership: DOT will give priority to projects that demonstrate strong collaboration among a broad range of participants and/or integration of transportation with other public service efforts.

The Department will give more weight to the Long-Term Outcomes criteria than to the Innovation and Partnership criteria. Projects that are unable to demonstrate a likelihood of significant long-term benefits in any of the five long-term outcomes will not proceed in the evaluation process. For the Jobs Creation & Economic Stimulus criterion, a project that is not ready to proceed quickly is less likely to be successful.

The notice published in the Federal Register provides additional guidance on how the Department will apply the selection criteria.

Is there a maximum and/or minimum grant size for TIGER Discretionary Grants?

The FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act specifies that TIGER Discretionary Grants may be not less than $10 million (except in rural areas) and not greater than $200 million. Pursuant to the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, no more than 25 percent of the funds made available for TIGER Discretionary Grants (or $150 million) may be awarded to projects in a single State.

Are there any other statutory requirements for the distribution of TIGER Discretionary Grants?

FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act specifies the following additional requirements:

  • The FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act directs that not less than $120 million of the funds provided for projects in rural areas.
  • TIGER Discretionary Grants is to be used for projects located in rural areas. TIGER Discretionary Grants may be used for up to 80 percent of the costs of a project, but priority must be given to projects for which Federal funding is required to complete an overall financing package and projects can increase their competitiveness by demonstrating significant non-Federal contributions. DOT may increase the Federal share above 80 percent only for projects located in rural areas, in which case DOT may fund up to 100 percent of the costs of a project. Therefore, for projects located in urban areas, based on the statutory requirements of at least 20 percent non-Federal cost share and a minimum grant size of $10 million, the minimum total project size for an eligible project is $12.5 million (where the minimum $10 million TIGER Discretionary Grant request represents 80 percent of the total project cost). The minimum total project size for an eligible project in a rural area is $1million (where the entire project cost is funded with a TIGER Discretionary Grant). However, the statutory requirement to give priority to projects that use Federal funds to complete an overall financing package applies to project located in rural areas as well, and projects located in rural areas can increase their competitiveness for purposes of the TIGER program by demonstrating significant non-Federal financial contributions.

Is there a minimum/maximum request amount for capital or planning grants?

There is no minimum request for planning, but there is a $3 million maximum.  In the past, DOT has awarded grantees as little as $85,000 for a small project in planning.

For capital grants, the minimum request for a project in an urbanized area is $10 million. While the statutory maximum for any TIGER Grant is $200 million, awards have averaged around $10 million per grant.

There is a $1 million minimum request requirement for capital grants in a rural area.

Do planning grants require a non-federal match?

Yes. Planning grants are subject to the same requirements for match as capital grants; namely, a minimum of 20% match for urban areas, and no required match for rural areas (but more than the minimum is always more competitive).

What is the difference between a partner and a co-applicant? Can a partner administer the project if it is not the grantee?

A co-applicant must qualify as eligible as explained in the NOFA.  A co-applicant generally has contributed funds to the project, and may help administer funds once granted.  A partner may support the project, help in the public engagement or outreach, and support the project in numerous ways, including financially, but does not have to be an eligible entity.  Only an eligible entity may receive and administer TIGER funds upon award, and lead applicants who wish to administer their grants through eligible co-applicants (such as State DOTs) should create those relationships (such as through MOUs) to the extent possible prior to award.

What is a regional plan vs. a project plan?

A “regional” planning application is anything that is broader than a specific project plan.  It can include corridor planning, risk assessments, statewide port planning, citywide connectivity measures, and numerous innovative efforts.  A project plan would be the pre-construction work, such as environmental, design, and permitting, for a specific transportation project.

What is the difference in relationship between project applicants and project partners?

Project applicants are the proposed grantee of a TIGER grant and would need to demonstrate the technical and financial capacity to administer a federal award.  Project partners can be various and the level of support can vary from monetary contribution to alignment with project priorities.

Can I apply for both TIGER Planning & Capital grants? If so, does a combined planning and capital application count as a single application?

Yes, eligible applicants can submit up to 3 planning in addition to 3 capital applications (6 total).  A project including pre-construction activities for a capital project which will be ready to proceed in the statutory timeframe should be submitted as a capital application with pre-construction elements.  A project for planning activities of a capital project which will not be ready to proceed to construction in the statutory timeframe (before June 30, 2016) should be submitted as a planning application. A combined planning and capital application would count as a single application.

Can you apply for a TIGER planning grant that for a project that would not be a TIGER capital project (e.g. TIGER project capital eligibility)?

TIGER Planning grants are authorized for eligible planning activities for surface transportation capital infrastructure which would subsequently be eligible TIGER capital grants.  Therefore, a planning grant for a project that would not qualify as a TIGER capital project would not be eligible.

If you intend to demonstrate independent utility on project phases, is a BCA needed for each phase or only for the entire project?

A best practice for BCA is to provide delineated benefits and costs for each phase which has independent utility.  However, DOT recognizes the technical challenges in preparing a BCA and encourages applicants to do their best in demonstrating the anticipated benefits and estimated costs of the entire project as well as appropriate segments.

Do planning grant applications require a BCA?

TIGER planning grant applications do not require the submission of a Benefit-Cost Analysis, however to the extent anticipated benefits can be quantified that is encouraged.

Updated: Monday, April 28, 2014