Federal grants will help with some highway repairs
Trucking officials are eager for the federal government to develop a comprehensive highway repair plan to improve the infrastructure of America’s roadways. That is why recent reports that the Department of Transportation has awarded dozens of repair grants is being well received by many in the commercial trucking sector.
“The Department of Transportation announced $600 million in federal grants under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program,” TruckingInfo.com recently reported. “The money is being awarded to 72 projects out of 797 applications in a competitive process designed to focus resources where they are most needed.”
The grants will help make some needed repairs across the country, but there is still a need for a long-term funding solution as lawmakers continue to debate a highway funding bill.
“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.
“For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away,” Foxx added. He said that if Congress would pass the Obama administration’s highway bill, the GROW America Act, funding for the TIGER program would double.
TruckingInfo.com also reported that over “the past five years the TIGER program has granted more than $4.1 billion to transportation projects, according to DOT.” This latest round of grants aims to cut travel times, increase predictability and attract new jobs to communities, DOT said.
Included, for instance, are $24.9 million for a 7.6-mile bus line in Richmond, Va., $10 million to replace a bridge over the Missouri River in Washington, Mo., and $17.9 million to replace roads in Claiborne County, Miss., TruckingInfo.com reported.
Lawmakers have also approved quick fixes in recent months to help with needed highway repairs.
“House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) [last month] proposed a transfer of almost $20 billion from the general tax fund to help sustain transportation funding until next April,” reported the Washington Post. “The funding would provide a bridge that would allow more than 117,000 transportation projects that employ 700,000 workers nationwide to continue through the year.”
The Washington Post also reports that “Without the transfer, federal officials have warned that money for the nation’s major transportation projects would begin to slow after Aug. 1 as the Highway Trust Fund dwindled.”