Bill provides an additional $7.5 billion for infrastructure projects
Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, is an original cosponsor of the TIGER Grants for Job Creation Act (HR 2495), introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters late last week. The legislation would make $7.5 billion in federal funding available for transportation infrastructure projects between 2016 and 2021.
"The need (to) improve the state of our deteriorating infrastructure is urgent, and the problem will only grow until we address it in a serious way," Higgins said. "The TIGER program has supported some of the most transformative infrastructure projects in this community and across the country while at the same time supporting quality jobs for working families."
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a highly competitive grant program designed to make critical investments in road, rail, transit and port projects. The fiscal year 2014 TIGER program funded $600 million in transportation grants. Since first established in 2009, TIGER has provided more than $4.2 billion toward 342 surface transportation infrastructure projects over the past six rounds of awards.
Western New York projects have benefited from the TIGER program. The Niagara Falls International Railway Station, currently under construction, was awarded $16.5 million in 2010 through the TIGER II program. In 2011, the Cars Sharing Main Street project, which is returning vehicular traffic to Main Street in Buffalo, was awarded $15 million in the TIGER III round of awards. This year, the City of Buffalo will again apply for TIGER funding to support continued phases of the Cars Sharing Main Street initiative.
Still, the need for additional infrastructure funding is great, Higgins said. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimate $3.6 trillion is needed to restore U.S. infrastructure to good repair by 2020 and, in its report card on America's infrastructure, it gives the U.S. a "D+" grade.
Higgins has long been an advocate for increased road and bridge funding to rebuild communities and support U.S. jobs. Earlier this month, he also introduced the Nation Building Here at Home Act of 2015, a bill to provide $985 billion in funding for infrastructure improvements, the difference between the projected level of investment and what the ASCE reports is necessary to meet the needs of bringing deteriorating infrastructure up to acceptable standards.