Port and freight rail projects received roughly one-fifth, or about $104 million, through the Department of Transportation’s fourth round of TIGER grants, with public transit, passenger rail, bicycle lanes and walking trail projects getting about 40 percent of the funding.
About 35 percent, or $175 million, will go toward the replacement of roads and bridges. The rest, or about $10 million, heads to projects in Native American reservations. In the last round of TIGER grants, road and bridge projects received about half of the $511 million awarded, and port and rail-related projects, including passenger rail projects, got about 22 percent of the funding.
"President Obama’s support for an America built to last is putting people back to work across the country building roads, bridges and other projects that will mean better, safer transportation for generations to come,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “TIGER projects mean good transportation jobs today and a stronger economic future for the nation.”
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants to 47 projects in 34 states fell short of the $10.2 billion requested though 703 applications. The recent round of grants will support about $1.7 billion in investments, and work on 27 projects that gained grants in previous rounds is expected to begin the in the next six months, LaHood said. Work has begun already on 64 projects funded through the program.
The fate of the next round of TIGER grants is murky, as the House’s fiscal 2013 budget doesn’t include any dollars for the program. The Senate version would include $500 million for the grant program. Fiscal conservatives have increasingly criticized the program as a form of earmarks used for political gain.
Here are major freight-related project awards:
— The Global Terminal at Bayonne, N.J., received $11.4 million to expand an intermodal container facility.
— The Port of Oakland received $15 million toward a $42 million project to increase rail access and capacity through building a new track from Union Pacific Railroad’s mainline, two tracks to an intermodal terminal and a railyard.
— The Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, got $10 million toward a $17.8 million construction of new rail siding, which will allow the port to handle more freight.
— A $12 million grant will help fund construction of a new cargo dock on the southern side of the Brownsville ship channel, allowing the Texas route to handle more container shipping. The total project, which involves improving railroad sidings, is expected to cost $26.7 million.
— The program gave $12.3 million toward a $6.4 million renovation project at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. Work includes resurfacing the main dock, realigning the on-site rail and renovating a 200-ton crane.
— The Alabama Port Authority received $12 million to improve and connect a container facility with a national rail network. The $28.8 million project will provide 20 acres of new railyard and a 1,225-foot rail bridge connecting to five Class I carriers.
— A $7.9 million grant will help upgrade 18.8 miles of rail between St. Albans, Vermont and the Canadian border, allowing the lines to handle the gross weight standards of up to 286,000 pounds. The total projected is estimated to cost $11.2 million.
— A $10 million grant will make freight improvements to the Bronx’s Hunts Points Terminal Produce. The $20.6 million project is aimed at reducing truck traffic and congestion at one of the world’s largest wholesale markets.
— The city of West Memphis received a nearly $11 million grant to upgrade and strengthen rail connections at the West Memphis International Rail Logistics Park. The Arkansas project is expected to cost $26.9 million.
— The Port of Lewiston got $1.3 million to improve its Idaho facilities, which are used by shippers to export cargo to 17 countries. The total project cost is $2.9 million
— A $7 million grant will be used to rehabilitate a 296-mile stretch of short-line rail operated by the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad. The $9.4 million grant will reopen the line to shippers after access was closed in 2008 because of lack of funds to make needed improvements.