March 8, 2017 2:45 PM, EST
TIGER Infrastructure Grants on the Chopping Block, Says Sen. Collins

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request is likely to deny funding for U.S. Department of Transportation grants awarded to various state agencies since 2009 for infrastructure projects, the Senate’s top transportation funding leader said March 8.

“I fully expect when we get the budget, that we may well see the TIGER grant program slashed,” Maine Republican Susan Collins, chairwoman of the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said at a hearing her panel hosted on infrastructure funding.

“I’m just worried based on what I’ve read,” Collins told reporters after the hearing. “It has been extraordinarily popular. The number of applications for TIGER grants far exceeds the amount of funding. So, I’m concerned about that.”

The Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget request is expected to arrive on Capitol Hill next week. Administration officials have offered no indication about the future of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants.

Despite garnering support from state and local officials, Republican leaders sought to deny significant funding for the program throughout the Obama administration.

Recent TIGER grant winners include the Little Rock Port Authority, a freight mobility project along U.S. 169 in Scott County, Minnesota, and a freight rail project in South Carolina. At their conference in January, the U.S. Conference of Mayors called on the Trump administration to keep the grants.

Since the Obama administration came up with the infrastructure grants in 2009, the program has distributed $5.1 billion for 421 projects. State and municipal officials utilize TIGER funds to finance projects ranging from highway expansions to port infrastructure as a way to promote commerce and livability.