SHAHEEN: CUTS TO TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM WILL HURT JOBS, ECONOMY

Transportation Investments Generating Economic Return (TIGER) program promotes economic activity, New Hampshire jobs

May 15, 2014

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is calling on Senate Appropriators to oppose cuts to the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Return (TIGER) program proposed in the House so that states can continue to improve and expand their transportation infrastructure, promoting job creation and economic development. The TIGER program provides funding for a wide variety of transportation projects, from freight rail to bridge projects in New Hampshire.

“In New Hampshire, TIGER has provided vital resources to enable the replacement of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and upgrades to infrastructure in the downtown district of the state capital in Concord…. TIGER remains critical to the completion of freight rail, bridge replacement and a wide range of other projects in my state that will help spur economic development,” Shaheen wrote.

“America’s transportation network is an important driver of both quality of life and national economic competitiveness, and TIGER bridges critical gaps in formula funding programs to ensure that we are able to make investments in projects that are essential to both local and national goals,” Shaheen added.

Since 2009, more than $3.5 billion in TIGER funds have been distributed to states through the Department of Transportation. The House Committee on Appropriations has proposed cutting $500 million from the program for FY 2015. TIGER funds have been critical to many important New Hampshire projects including the replacement of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, Concord’s Downtown Complete Streets Improvement Project and improvements to the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad.

The full text of Shaheen’s letter is included below:

May 15, 2014

The Honorable Patty Murray     

Chair     

Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies  

Committee on Appropriations  

United States Senate    

Washington, D.C.  20510              

The Honorable Susan Collins

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.  20510

Dear Chair Murray and Ranking Member Collins:

As you draft Fiscal Year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations legislation, I write to request that you continue to provide strong support for the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Return (TIGER) program.  Robust funding in the Senate THUD appropriations bill for the successful TIGER program is particularly crucial given the drastic $500 million dollar cut that has been proposed by the House Committee on Appropriations for FY 2015.

As you know, Congress initially funded the TIGER program to meet the need for a flexible, multi-modal discretionary funding program that had long been identified by mayors, governors and leaders who are best positioned to understand local transportation needs and priorities.  TIGER’s broad eligibility, which encompasses port and freight rail projects that are not eligible for any other sources of federal funds, enables states and localities to implement critical projects that contribute to local economic prosperity while advancing national goals.  Since 2009, USDOT has distributed more than $3.5 billion in TIGER grant funding for port, rail, transit, pedestrian, highway and bridge projects in all 50 states. 

In New Hampshire, TIGER has provided vital resources to enable the replacement of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and upgrades to infrastructure in the downtown district of the state capital in Concord.  Despite the program’s successful investments in New Hampshire and across the country, continued funding for TIGER remains critical to the completion of freight rail, bridge replacement and a wide range of other projects in my state that will help spur economic development. 

America’s transportation network is an important driver of both quality of life and national economic competitiveness, and TIGER bridges critical gaps in formula funding programs to ensure that we are able to make investments in projects that are essential to both local and national goals.  Thank you for your leadership and support for the TIGER program.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senate