U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) today to sign $58.8 million in TIGER grants for the National Capital Region. The TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) grant program, created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, funds innovative transportation projects that have significant benefits for the economy, the environment, or increase the safety and efficiency of existing infrastructure.
The $58.8 million in Recovery Act money for the metropolitan region will improve bus transportation along priority corridors in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, and create better connections between buses and other forms of transportation in the region.
"This $58.8 million investment is an excellent example of the Obama Administration's commitment to modernizing transit systems and creating economic opportunity," said Secretary LaHood. "Thanks to TIGER Recovery Act grants like this one, people are benefiting from better transportation opportunities and an improved quality of life in communities across the country."
National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) members and staff, and the staffs of member governments, state departments of transportation, and area transit agencies worked collaboratively to generate the grant application in a very short amount of time.
TPB Chairman and Falls Church Vice Mayor David Snyder, echoing LaHood, also noted the cooperation that was necessary for the region's application to be successful. "This required a team effort and it really paid off. Every citizen in the region is going to benefit from this funding," Snyder said. "This really is a victory for regionalism."
Of more than 1,400 projects submitted in the first round of TIGER grants, fewer than three percent were chosen for funding. "Winning these TIGER funds is an achievement we can all be proud of," said COG Chairman and D.C. Councilmember At-Large Kwame Brown. "Our region's grant was the only one awarded to a metropolitan area for a large-scale, multi-modal regional project."
Over $26 million of the funding will go to improving bus transportation along priority corridors in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Improvements to these corridors include dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal priority, skip stop service, enhanced pedestrian access, real-time passenger information, and enhanced bus stops, among others. Focusing on corridors with the highest regional ridership, the purpose of these improvements is to increase ridership and reliability.
In addition, over $19.9 million was awarded for multimodal improvements to enable priority bus transit connecting Prince William and Fairfax Counties and the City of Alexandria with the District of Columbia. The aim is to provide high quality transit options for commuters and relieve pressure on the Metrorail system.
Finally, over $12.3 million of the funding will be used for the construction of a multimodal Takoma/Langley transit center in Prince George's County, which will improve safety and intermodal access to priority bus corridors.
For a more in-depth description of the projects being funded by the TIGER funds, click here (http://www.mwcog.org/about/uploads/TIGER%20Overview%20Dec%2014.pdf).
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