Demand Demonstrates Need for Greater Transportation Investment through GROW AMERICA Act
Contact: Angela Gates
BOSTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was in Boston today to announce that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has been selected to receive $20 million in TIGER funds towards a $30 million project to modernize Ruggles Station. 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 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2014 program.
“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. “Ruggles Station’s capacity is so squeezed – and so few trains can enter – that some commuters have to overshoot the station and double back to find a train that gets them home or to work or to school and TIGER is going to fix that problem. 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.”
Ruggles Station is an urban intermodal facility that serves MBTA commuter rail, bus, the Orange Line subway and private bus shuttles, as well as pedestrian and bicycle access. The project will add a second platform at the station, eliminating the need for passengers to transfer at Back Bay Station, resulting in a shorter and more efficient commute for thousands of riders, including residents of Roxbury, a disadvantaged area where Ruggles Station is located. The project also brings the station into full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, brings rail tracks into a state of good repair and improves the connection between the station and employment, education and cultural centers.
“We congratulate the citizens of Boston and the Roxbury neighborhood, who are the true winners in obtaining these highly competitive TIGER grant funds,” said Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan. “This project will improve access to efficient, reliable public transportation for thousands of area residents and students who depend on the T 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 project.
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.