KANSAS CITY, MO (February 17, 2010) – One year to the day after President Obama signed the historic American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced Recovery Act awards that include millions for the Saint Paul Union Depot Multi-Modal Transit and Transportation Hub.The TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant Program was included in the Recovery Act to spur a national competition for innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that promise significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, a region or the nation.
LaHood said that of 51 innovative projects funded with $1.5 billion in TIGER Funding that the Saint Paul Union Depot Multi-Modal Transit and Transportation Hub would receive $35 million for the overall $237,500,000 project.
The project was selected as competitive for improving metro livability by providing safer, cleaner, more affordable transit choices. It was also selected for sustainability by providing greener, fuel efficient transportation alternatives, and for promotes downtown revitalization and economic growth.
The Hub project is a renovation of the Saint Paul Union Depot and co-locates Amtrak, intercity bus carriers, local bus, light rail services, taxis, and bicycle accommodations. The depot could also provide future capacity for high-speed rail and other planned inter-city and light rail services.
The project is said to connect several modes of transportation, thereby increasing efficiency and improving the overall level of service. The establishment of the multi-modal center with associated commercial development within the Depot will bring growth to the downtown area and improve the connectivity of Saint Paul to other cities in the region. The inclusion of protected bike storage will enable riders to access transit options without having to drive a car.
In an overwhelming show of demand for the program, the U.S. Department of Transportation was flooded with more than 1,400 applications from all 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia requesting funding for almost $60 billion worth of projects – 40 times the amount available through the program.
“TIGER grants will tackle the kind of major transportation projects that have been difficult to build under other funding programs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This will help us meet the 21st century challenges of improving the environment, making our communities more livable and enhancing safety, all while creating jobs and growing the economy.”
The projects announced today will create jobs and spur lasting economic growth, reduce gridlock for the traveling public, and provide Americans with more safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation choices. They will also help factories, farms and businesses across the U.S. move goods more efficiently and better compete in the global economy. Sixty percent of the funding will go to economically distressed areas, which are home to 39 percent of the U.S. population.
Awardees were selected based on their contribution to economic competitiveness of the nation, improving safety and the condition of the existing transportation system, increasing quality of life, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrating strong collaboration among a broad range of participants, including the private sector.
Projects were funded in large cities as well as rural and tribal communities across the country and were selected based on merit. Selected projects represent some of the most innovative projects as well as multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects that are often overlooked by the existing funding system. The winning TIGER projects highlighted the diversity of transportation needs throughout the U.S. from grand Moynihan Station in New York City, which will carry millions of train and subway riders each year to “the most beautiful drive in America” – Wyoming’s Beartooth Highway – the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. They ranged from major billion dollar freight rail corridors in the Midwest and South, to bridge repairs in Oklahoma and South Carolina to port projects in Maine and Hawaii.
TIGER funds will also help construct the Union Passenger Terminal/Loyola Streetcar Loop in New Orleans, make safety improvements to a key highway in New Mexico Najavo country and spur economic growth in Appalachia through the Appalachian Regional Short Line Rail Project and the Gateway Project.
The U.S. Department of Transportation required rigorous economic justifications for projects more than $100 million and will require all recipients to report on their activities on a routine basis.