U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $20 Million in TIGER Funds to Develop Birmingham Bus Rapid Transit System
Projects Target Future Needs in Rural and Urban Communities Nationwide
Contact: Valerie Berton
BIRMINGHAM, AL – Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese McMillan today announced that the Department of Transportation will provide $20 million in TIGER funds to support development of a 15-mile bus rapid transit system that will aid city-wide revitalization efforts in downtown Birmingham. The project is one of 39 transportation projects in 34 states selected to receive funding from the Department of Transportation’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2015 program. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced project selections for this round of TIGER grants on October 29.
The Department received 627 eligible applications from 50 states and several U.S. territories, including Tribal governments, requesting 20 times the $500 million available for the program, or $10.1 billion for needed transportation projects.
“Transportation is always about the future. If we're just fixing today's problems, we'll fall further and further behind. We already know that a growing population and an increase in transit riders will require our system to do more,” said Secretary Foxx. “In this round of TIGER, we selected projects that focus on where the country’s transportation infrastructure needs to be in the future; ever safer, ever more innovative, and ever more targeted to open the floodgates of opportunity across America.”
Following decades of disinvestment, Birmingham is gaining vitality and population. After residents described their traditional city bus service as inadequate and one of their top community concerns, city leaders prioritized BRT as a way to promote reinvestment and elevate low-income and minority neighborhoods. Close to half of the city’s population lives within one-half mile of the proposed BRT stations, which would provide connections to 130,000 jobs in the corridor as well as the University of Alabama at Birmingham and other schools.
With this latest round of funding, TIGER continues to invest in transformative projects that will provide significant and measurable improvements over existing conditions. The awards recognize projects nationwide that will advance key transportation goals such as safety, innovation, and opportunity.
“Bringing BRT to Birmingham will enable thousands of city residents to reach the educational and employment opportunities that can improve their lives, making them the true winners in obtaining these highly competitive TIGER grant funds,” McMillan said. “This project will provide state-of-the art rapid bus service, including real-time transit information, off-board fare collection, and traffic signal prioritization, as well as streetscape improvements. We are confident that this investment will go far toward improving quality of life in Birmingham.”
This is the seventh TIGER round since 2009, bringing the total grant amount to $4.6 billion provided to 381 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including 134 projects to support rural and tribal communities. Demand for the program has been overwhelming; to date, the Department of Transportation has received more than 6,700 applications requesting more than $134 billion for transportation projects across the country.
The GROW AMERICA Act, the Administration’s surface transportation legislative proposal, would keep TIGER roaring with $7.5 billion over six years for future TIGER grants.
Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants.