On May 11, Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the Transportation Infrastructure Grants and Economic Reinvestment (TIGER) Act (S. 942), which would authorize additional federal funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program created in 2009. The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide grants, direct loans and loan guarantees to states, local governments and transit agencies to help fund transportation projects.
Vermont has previously applied to this program for funding to upgrade freight lines and bring Vermont's rail network in line with the national 286,000lbs standard. It is possible Vermont would apply for funds from this source to purchase and renovate the White River Junction station.
The TIGER Act would continue to ensure that transportation projects are selected through a “transparent, competitive and merit-based process,” and that projects across the country are funded, the senators said in a joint statement. Several projects already funded under the TIGER grant program include a multi-modal transportation center in Normal, Ill., that will serve as a hub for Amtrak, intercity bus, local mass transit and other modes; and repairs to 233 miles of state-owned track in northern Maine that had been slated for abandonment, they said.
“I have been thrilled by the successful transportation projects that have been funded in the two years since I established the TIGER grant program,” said Murray. “These projects are putting people to work, boosting regional economies and improving our country's infrastructure.”
Added Collins: “One of my highest priorities is to help ensure that our nation's transportation infrastructure does not fall into disrepair. Safe and efficient transportation is essential to economic recovery and cannot be left solely to state governments, which are struggling with budget shortfalls.”
S. 942 was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.