Thursday, February 27, 2014

Obama Announces New Round of TIGER Grants, Transportation Funding Vision

Yesterday, February 26, President Obama announced his vision for transportation infrastructure, including a sixth round round of TIGER grants and a $302 billion four year reauthorization proposal to replace MAP-21 at an event at the recently restored, historic Union Station in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Since the President took office, the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program that has invested $3.5 billion in 270 projects across the country, including 100 in rural areas, creating jobs and spurring economic development. U.S. Department of Transportation received more than 5,300 applications requesting nearly $115 billion for projects since the beginning of the TIGER program.

Obama has expanded priorities for the latest round of TIGER grants including access to jobs and school, revitalizing and reconnecting neighborhoods. The funding for this latest round of grants is through the Consolidated Appropriations Act the President signed in January. The announcement today included social media pushes from the White House and featured the following tweet which was retweeted more than 2,400 times.

Retweet if you agree that America should have the best airports, the best roads, and the best trains in the world.

The message of today was that the President will continue to act when he can to promote job growth in the transportation sector and put more Americans back to work repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems, and will continue to work with Congress ensure the nation's critical transportation programs don't end late this summer.

His vision to maintain the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which is slated to begin bouncing checks as early as July, includes a $150 billion in “one-time transition revenue from pro-growth business tax reform," but further details on what these reforms would be have not been given. During the speech, Obama said, "More Americans need access to efficient, affordable transit, [there is] no faster, better way for Congress to grow the economy"

“This vision will show how we can invest in the things we need to grow and create jobs by closing unfair tax loopholes, lowering tax rates, and making the system more fair,” stated by a press release distributed by the White House. “While the President will show how to fully pay for his proposal in this way, he will also make clear that he is open to ideas and wants to work with Congress in a bipartisan way to get this done.”

President Obama concluded Wednesday's comments in Minnesota by saying, "This is this the beginning, not the end; we have a lot more rail we have to lay."

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