The $10.2 billion in requested Department of Transportation TIGER grants exceeded supply by a factor of more than 20, the agency said Thursday.
State and local government agencies submitted 703 applications for the $500 million available in this round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood wrote. Money requested through the last round of the program outpaced supply by a factor of 27.
The funding requests in comparison to the money available underscores the growing gap between the nation’s infrastructure needs and what Congress will provide. The U.S. needs to spend $101 billion annually, plus inflation, over the next 20 years to maintain the highway system, and at least $69 billion would need to be spent annually to improve the network, according to a DOT report.
“We simply cannot make the investments we need to build the nation we want without a long-term transportation plan, and it is up to Congress to pass such a plan,” LaHood wrote. “But Congress has failed to come together on what has traditionally been an issue with bipartisan support.”
In the latest round of TIGER grant awards, freight projects that promoted intermodal rail, particularly to the benefit of exporters, has the best rate of gaining federal dollars. DOT has signaled that up to $100 million of the latest round could go to high-speed rail projects.