If you've been following DOT news, you know that I'm talking about the next round of our wildly successful Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery discretionary grant program. Funds in this program are available on a competitive basis to support capital investment in surface transportation projects. The projects must have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or a metropolitan area--and they must create jobs.
You know, we received over 1,400 applications from all 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia for the first round of TIGER. These applicants sought nearly $60 billion in funds, more than 40 times the $1.5 billion available.
That shows we were onto something, and we know from that experience that there's a real backlog of worthwhile transportation projects in need of funding.
And Congress recognized that, too. That's why, in December 2009, they authorized another $600 million for TIGER II.
But the basic criteria are simple: America needs the kinds of projects that help spur lasting economic growth, reduce gridlock, provide safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation choices and create jobs.
Renewed infrastructure, economic activity, sustainability--it's no wonder I'm looking forward to those applications.