By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx July 30 posted a message on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fast Lane Blog noting that, once again, the demand for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants had outpaced available funds. The Secretary said in 2015 the DOT received 625 applications seeking $9.8 billion in funding, 20 times more than the $500 million Congress has made available in the seventh round of the competitive grant program.

TIGER grants are used to fund capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis to projects that “will have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or metropolitan area,” according the DOT.

Since 2009, the TIGER competitive grant program has provided a combined $4.1 billion to 342 projects, but during the same time period DOT said it received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion.

“That means that for every project selected, 17 projects that communities across the country need go unfunded.  And for every dollar requested, we have only been able to provide about 3 cents,” Foxx said.

He noted the lack of funds demonstrated the continued need for transportation investment nationwide, adding “the consistent number of high quality projects we’re unable to fund through TIGER every year demonstrates the need for Congress to give more communities access to this vital lifeline.”