July 25, 2017 3:45 PM, EDT

TIGER Grants Restored in Senate Fiscal ’18 Transportation Bill

Sen. Susan CollinsBloomberg News

WASHINGTON — A grants program at the U.S. Department of Transportation for regional infrastructure projects would receive $550 million in fiscal 2018 under legislation a Senate funding subpanel approved July 25.

The draft fiscal 2018 spending bill, easily advanced to the Senate Appropriations Committee, rejects a Trump administration proposal to deny funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants. The House’s version would deny funding for the grants.

The move by Senate transportation funding leaders would increase funding for the program. A fiscal 2017 funding deal in April provided $500 million for the grants, matching the fiscal 2016 enacted level.

“Last year, 585 applicants from all 50 states and territories requested nearly $9.3 billion in assistance, demonstrating the need for and popularity of this program. Only 40 of these applications could be funded,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.

The subcommittee provided a summary of the bill. The bill’s text is expected to be publicly available later in the week ending July 29.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has boosted funding for more than 400 projects. Transportation officials across the country relied on the additional funds to advance freight connectivity and rural highways projects.

The Senate legislation also would provide $908.6 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, $744.8 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and $272 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.