March 9, 2018 3:30 PM, EST

Projects in Indiana, Maine Among Winners of TIGER Grants

Susan CollinsCollins by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

The replacement of two freight rail approaches in Indiana, and the replacement of three bridges in rural Maine were among the projects recently awarded grants, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced March 9.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will receive $10 million to rebuild the approaches to the Maunie railroad bridge over the Wabash River connecting Indiana and Illinois. The bridge, a key freight link, has reached the end of its functional life.

In Maine, the state Department of Transportation will receive nearly $11 million to replace three highway bridges in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties.

“Local residents rely on these bridges, which connect them with adjacent communities and provide critical transportation links for loggers and visitors, as well,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in a statement. She is the chairwoman of the transportation funding subcommittee. “This project will improve public safety and help to create and support jobs in rural Maine.”

Forty-one projects were awarded supplemental funding totaling nearly $500 million in the most recent round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants. Since its inception nearly a decade ago, the TIGER program has awarded nearly $6 billion for surface transportation projects.

“TIGER grants are targeted investments for our local communities that will increase safety, create jobs and modernize our country’s infrastructure,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement. The secretary previously alluded to the TIGER grants when she addressed a House transportation panel on March 6.

Representatives of the states and districts that received grants this time around seemed to know about their awards a few days before the general public. Several lawmakers tweeted about the awards.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies, tweeted March 6 that his district had received $13 million to support the installation of streetlights and the construction of bus shelters and sidewalks. Carson City, Nev., received $7.5 million for a project that will improve pedestrian safety and mobility.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) announced via Twitter that the state received $25 million to fund the construction of a new expressway that will alleviate traffic and divert trucks away from local roads in the Lincoln area.

Dorchester County, S.C., was awarded $13.25 million for resurfacing, shoulder construction, road widening and intersection improvements along U.S. Highway 78. Loudoun County, Va., received $25 million to construct a 1.6-mile segment of road that will complete a link between State Route 7 and U.S Route 50.

Not all recipients were states or local agencies. Mississippi State University received $7 million for a 2-mile corridor project that will incorporate sidewalks, bike lanes, transit shelters, traffic signal improvements and street lighting on the eastern perimeter of the university campus.

The Alabama State Port Authority was awarded $12.7 million to convert an abandoned bulk handling facility at the Port of Mobile into a roll-on, roll-off mobile vehicle processing facility.

The future of TIGER grants remains uncertain. President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, released Feb. 12, included no funding request for the TIGER program. The proposal also slashes DOT’s discretionary budget by 19%.

Staff Reporter Eleanor Lamb contributed to this article.