March 22, 2018 Nearly $500 Million Granted to National Infrastructure Projects The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced earlier this month that nearly $500 million dollars have been granted to a combined 41 individual infrastructure projects across the United States. As part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery project (TIGER), this most recent round of funding will target improvements to maritime, road, rail, and civilian transit routes in primarily rural areas around the country. According to Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, “TIGER grants are targeted investments for our local communities that will increase safety, create jobs and modernize our country’s infrastructure.” The funds from this round of TIGER grants are going towards a range of unique infrastructure projects, from repairing railroad bridges over the Arkansas River, to repurposing a former Baltimore steel manufacturing plant into a state-of-the-art, multi-modal cargo handling facility. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation press release, “More than 64% of this round of TIGER funding was awarded to rural projects, a historic number that demonstrates this Administration’s commitment to supporting the country’s rural communities.” Additionally, $39.18 million of funds are being directed to projects on lands belonging to Native Americans, the largest combined amount since the first round of TIGER grants. The most recent round of grants brings the total value of capital investments made in the name of the TIGER program to $5.6 billion. According to the USDOT, “Throughout the TIGER program, these grants have supported projects that have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region.” AmericanShipper.com points out that “Freight-specific projects garnered roughly 24 percent ($118 million) of the $500 million in total funds awarded, but several other road and bridge projects are also expected to have a positive impact on cargo movements.” The nine freight-related projects selected for this round of TIGER grant funding include: $12.7 million to the Alabama State Port Authority for the Southeast Automotive Gateway project, which entails the conversion of an abandoned bulk cargo handling facility at the Port of Mobile into a roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) automobile processing facility; $20 million to Baltimore County, Md., for the Mid-Atlantic Multi-Modal Transportation Hub project, which includes building new cargo-handling facilities at the Sparrows Point industrial facility in East Baltimore as part of a larger investment program to repurpose a former steel manufacturing site with marine service into a multimodal logistics hub; $19.9 million to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the Blue Ridge Road Grade Separation and Intersection Improvements, which will eliminate an at-grade crossing by lowering the Blue Ridge Road from its existing grade to pass under the North Carolina Railroad (NCRR) right-of-way; $8 million to Mill City, Ore., for the Mill City Downtown Restoration and Revitalization Project, which includes repairing and renovating the North Santiam River Bridge, a rural major collector on a designated freight route near Mill City; $8.5 million to the City of Fort Smith, Ark., for the Securing Multimodal Freight Corridors in the Ozarks, which comprises the repair and rehabilitation of three rail bridges that cross Clear Creek and the Arkansas River; $10 million to the Indiana Department of Transportation for the Wabash River Rail Bridge Infrastructure Revitalization, which entails replacing two deteriorating freight rail approaches to the Wabash River Bridge, which serves as a rail link between energy and agricultural suppliers in Illinois and river ports in Mt. Vernon, Ind.; $13 million to the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District in Louisiana for the Reconstruction of the Chalmette Slip Project, which will rehabilitate the last two original wharf sections of the port (A and F), which have been maintained but have exceeded their useful lives over the past 110 years; $16 million to Colfax County, N.M., for the Southwest Chief Route Stabilization Project, which will replace 60-year old bolted rail, associated turnouts and crossings for a net gain of 42 miles of Class 4 rail line in the La Junta subdivision between Hutchinson, Kan., and Las Animas, Colo.; And $9.9 million to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for the High Plains Strategic Freight Rail Capacity Improvement Project, which seeks to implement a program of improvements to a Class III regional freight network to accommodate unit trains of loaded 286,000-pound railcars and increase operating speeds. To see the full list of projects coming to a region near you, visit the U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER website.