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Project Supports President Obama’s Call to ‘Fix it First’
BURLINGTON, Vt. – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the Vermont Agency of Transportation has been awarded an $8.9 million grant. The project is one of 52 transportation projects in 37 states that will receive a total of approximately $474 million from DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2013 discretionary grant program.
“These TIGER projects are the best argument you can make for investment in our transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“Together, they answer President Obama’s call for a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing roads and bridges, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth.”
The $18.5 million project involves rehabilitating 20 miles of the state-owned Vermont Railway from Rutland to Leicester, which includes replacing nine miles of rail, upgrading 11 at-grade farm crossings, and making other improvements. When completed, this project will eliminate track-related slow orders, allowing for unrestricted Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Class 3 speed operations of up to 40 mph. The Vermont Rail System operates over the line and provides a critical connection for shippers to the Class I network in New York.
The project also supports the state’s efforts to improve the line to allow for the future extension of Amtrak’s Ethan Allen service from Rutland to Burlington. Approximately $6 million in match funding is coming from previous federal appropriations benefiting the corridor, as well as $3.2 million from the state and $200,000 in-kind contributions from the rail operator.
This grant is one of 17 rail grants totaling $146.2 million in this round of TIGER. Since the program’s inception, there have been 48 rail grants totaling $808.6 million.
“This investment is helping to move the economy by improving track, bridges and other infrastructure, building stations and intermodal facilities, advancing higher-performing rail service, and improving safety,” said FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.
The highly competitive TIGER program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for large, multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources. These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. The 2013 TIGER round alone supports $1.8 billion in overall project investments.
TIGER has enjoyed overwhelming demand since its creation, a trend continued by TIGER 2013. Applications for this most recent round of grants totaled more than $9 billion, far exceeding the $474 million set aside for the program. In all, the Department received 585 applications from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The projects funded through this round of TIGER illustrate the President’s goals of creating “Ladders of Opportunity” that connect people to jobs, repairing and replacing aging infrastructure with a “Fix it First” approach and contributing to America’s economic growth.
On March 26, 2013, the President signed the FY 2013 Appropriations Act, which after sequestration provided approximately $474 million for Department of Transportation national infrastructure investments. Like the first four rounds, TIGER 2013 grants are for capital investments in infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis based on the published selection criteria. This is the fifth round of TIGER funding.
Under all five rounds combined, the TIGER program has provided more than $3.6 billion to 270 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program outweighed available funds, and during all five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 5,200 applications requesting more than $114.2 billion for transportation projects across the country.
Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants www.dot.gov/tiger/.