Demand Demonstrates Need for Greater Transportation Investment through GROW AMERICA Act
Contact: DOT Press Office
OMAHA, Neb. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was in Omaha today to announce a $14.9 million TIGER grant for the Transit Authority of the City of Omaha (known as Metro Area Transit) toward construction of a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system serving Central Omaha. The project is one of 72 transportation projects selected to receive a total of nearly $600 million in 46 states and the District of Columbia from the Department of Transportation’s 2014 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Program, which Secretary Foxx announced on September 12.
“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Secretary Foxx. “This TIGER investment will improve transit service on Omaha’s busiest transit route, contributing to the economic redevelopment of the Midtown Crossing area, and creating thousands of jobs now and long into the future. For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.”
The TIGER funds go toward final design and construction of an 8-mile BRT system in Central Omaha, which is expected to cost approximately $30.6 million. The project will include 14 stations along a busy corridor that serve major retail outlets, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, three major medical complexes, Omaha’s five Fortune 500 companies and the dense, mixed-use Midtown Crossing urban area. Once completed, the BRT line will intersect with nearly every route in Omaha’s existing transit system, becoming the spine of a regional transit network. The route will serve many disadvantaged and economically distressed riders, who will benefit from an affordable, accessible connection to centers of employment, education and training. Roughly 16 percent of the households within a quarter of a mile of the proposed BRT route do not currently have access to a vehicle.
“We congratulate the citizens of Omaha, who are the true winners in obtaining these highly competitive TIGER grant funds,” said Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “This project will improve access to efficient, reliable public transportation for thousands of area residents who depend on the bus to reach jobs, schools, medical care, and other important destinations.”
The GROW AMERICA Act, the Administration’s surface transportation reauthorization proposal, would authorize $5 billion over four years for much-needed additional TIGER funding to help meet the overwhelming demand for significant infrastructure investments around the country and provide the certainty that states and local governments need to properly plan for investment. The $302 billion, four-year transportation reauthorization proposal would provide increased and stable funding for the nation’s highways, bridges, transit and rail systems without contributing to the deficit. The GROW AMERICA Act also includes several critical program reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal highway, rail and transit programs.
The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013. Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9.5 billion for needed transportation projects.
Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country. Congress provided the most recent funding as part of the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, signed by President Obama on January 17, 2014.