Last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the funding of 72 transportation projects selected to receive a total of nearly $600 million through the 2014 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Program. Projects were funded in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Three projects in Missouri received funding for a totaling $21.5 million. Descriptions of the three projects are below:
$10.3 Million-St. Louis Metro Light Rail Corridor Improvements
Metro in St. Louis was awarded a $10.3 million TIGER grant toward construction of a new light rail transit (LRT) station and improvements for the CWE Station. The TIGER funds will support the construction of a new light rail transit rail station at Boyle Avenue and Sarah Street in the Cortex District—filling a 1.6-mile gap between stations. A new bike trail connecting the new Cortex station to the regional Great Rivers Greenway will also be constructed. The improvements are expected to support the development of the Cortex mid-town “innovation district,” which is home to the Washington University School of Medicine, the Wexford Science and Technology Center and over 4 million square feet of planned mixed-use development hosting thousands of technology-related jobs. The TIGER grant also helps to expand the existing Central West End LRT station—the busiest on the MetroLink system.
$1.2 Million-MARC KC Workforce Connex Project
The Mid America Regional Council (MARC) received a $1.2 million TIGER grant to assist in funding a fund a four-part planning study/community engagement effort to improve job-housing connectivity via public transit. While the economy in the Kansas City Region is strong, the area has witnessed significant flight of employment opportunities from the central city to suburban locations, resulting in separation of and disconnection between job opportunities and working class neighborhoods. Only 17 percent of the jobs in the region are in the Central Business District, and only 18 percent are reachable via transit in 90 minutes or less, according to the Brookings Institute. The project would include extensive public outreach and future land use planning recommendations to shift the current patterns, especially in targeted, high impact areas and look to double the number of jobs accessible by transit to 36 percent.
$10 Million-MODOT New Bridge on Route 47
The Missouri Department of Transportation received a $10 Million IGER grant to help replace the decaying, 78 year-old Route 47 Deck and Warren Truss Bridge over the Missouri River in Washington, MO. With the bridge nearing the end of its useful life, its age and condition create an ongoing need for maintenance, resulting in substantial expense and inconvenience for taxpayers. The bridge replacement will ensure this vital community and economic link continues to serve not only the people of Franklin and Warren Counties, but the region as a whole. The project doubles the width of the bridge, allowing it to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian facilities that are not possible today, while providing the flexibility for additional lanes in the future. It creates a more pedestrian-oriented community by providing safe and easy connection to the famous Katy Trail, adjacent communities and popular recreation activities. This project preserves a vital link to schools, health care, agricultural commerce, and emergency services on both sides of the Missouri River
The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013. Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9.5 billion for needed transportation project.
Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country.