Streetsblog DC reports that the federal TIGER II grants will look at land use, hopefully encouraging transportation projects to be built with larger goals in mind:

Perhaps the biggest news in today’s announcement was the U.S. DOT’s intention to marry its decision-making on the new TIGER-esque grants with the process for allocating $40 million in land-use aid at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If the two agencies can sustain that goal past the period of public comment on the new grants that begins this week, their move would take the cooperative ethos that has defined the Obama administration’s sustainable communities effort to the next level.

In its preliminary TIGER II guidance, published in today’s Federal Register, the U.S. DOT wrote that officially linking its grant decision-making with HUD’s would ideally “encourage and reward more holistic planning efforts and result in better projects being built with federal dollars” by recognizing the inextricable connection between transportation and local planning.

The U.S. DOT’s criteria for choosing TIGER II winners differ in several notable respects from those for the original program. At least $140 million of the new grants are required to go to rural areas, and localities selected to receive federal funding would need to provide a 20 percent match — a requirement that had been waived for the original TIGER competition in view of the economic downturn.

TIGER grants are competitively-awarded transportation grants that pit highways against transit projects, and roads against bike projects, and award based on a project’s merits rather than formula funding. $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants were included in Obama’s stimulus package that passed early in his administration. (The Transport Politic has a great entry on this policy as well.)

A new jobs bill including yet another round of TIGER grants is on “life-support” according to WSDOT’s federal funding blog.

5 Replies to “TIGER II Grants to Encourage Smarter Land Use”

  1. So these TIGER II grants… are they already funded, or dependent on the second round of stimulus passing?

    1. The three projects that spring to mind locally as candidates for TIGER II grants are the Aloha extension for the First Hill streetcar, the South Park Bridge, and the S. 200th Link extension.

      The Aloha extension probably is better from a land use standpoint, coming up with the match shouldn’t be too hard either. The South Park bridge is clearly a greater need at the moment, is better from an economic justice standpoint, and has fewer alternate sources of funding available. The S. 200th Link extension has some good land use aspects and ST can more than likely fund the match amount needed.

      1. I see the county council getting behind the South Park Bridge. I don’t know about the Seattle City Council, as they were no-shows, one and all, at the South Park Bridge public unveiling and comment on the closure plan last night. It remains to be seen what project Seattle officially gets behind, but last time Seattle + Vulcan trumped King County.

        FWIW, there are no plans for an HOV lane on the South Park Bridge, under the plan submitted for TIGER funding. Getting that funding may lock the project into the current plan for four general purpose lanes.

        If there are no governmental entities making 200th St Station their top priority, then it really doesn’t stand much of a chance, I’m afraid. Furthermore, the application would need to make a much stronger case for why the station is needed now rather than six years from now.

        If the Port of Seattle, King County, and City of Seattle don’t get united behind a project, the region may not get a grant in this round at all.

      2. Securing funding for the South Park bridge replacement needs to be a regional priority. Sure the county neglected the bridge forever and didn’t really prioritize its replacement until it became an emergency. However continuing to play the blame game doesn’t really solve the mobility issues closing the bridge will cause for area residents and businesses.

        One of the few good things coming out of the impending indefinite bridge closure is that it seems to have sobered the various players up.

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