|TIGER improved US 491 in New Mexico. The road was once called the "Devil's Highway" due to its former number (US 666) and the frequent fatalities caused by safety hazards. (Indian Country Today photo by Alysa Landry)|
The office said "special consideration" will be given to certain rural projects that "'emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation' for rural communities—and particularly projects in these places that might address public health and safety and boost economic growth and competitiveness," Lucia reports. Grants generally must be between $5 million and $25 million, but rural projects have a minimum price tag of $1 million. The deadline to apply is Oct. 16.
Congress and the Obama administration created TIGER during the Great Recession to boost the economy. During eight previous rounds of funding, the DOT has awarded $5.1 billion in grants. Trump's justification for ending it is that it funds projects that only benefit localities, not states or regions. "Congressional appropriators in the House and Senate have taken different positions on whether to fund TIGER grants in fiscal year 2018,." Lucia reports. "A House appropriations bill that covers transportation does not include money for the grants. But a Senate bill provides $550 million. A similar dynamic has played out in prior years where the House proposes slashing the program, the Senate backs funding, and ultimately money gets allocated for the grants."