I’ve written before about our commitment to helping rural and tribal residents get where they need to go safely and reliably. And when it came time to award our fourth round of TIGER grants, we honored that commitment.
Of the $500 million in TIGER 2012 funds available for grants, more than $120 million went to critical projects in rural areas. These projects will create jobs and give rural communities more transportation options.
One such project will create a new interchange in Gallatin County, Montana, which will shift traffic from local streets onto Interstate 90. This work will reduce congestion and delays, improve safety by removing at-grade rail crossings, and help maintain the local roads. By improving the flow of goods and people, the project will also increase the region's economic competitiveness.
TIGER funds will also help Muskegon County, Michigan, purchase three compressed natural gas buses, extending transit to rural areas of the county that are currently not served. This new service will provide essential access for residents to the many large employers located in rural and suburban areas in the county.
Three TIGER grants were also directed to tribal governments to create jobs and address critical transportation needs in Indian country.
In North Dakota, TIGER funds will be used to reconstruct several miles of the most heavily traveled road in the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa community, as well as add pedestrian and bicycle paths. The project will create construction jobs and improve links to surrounding towns so residents will have more options to find work.
Opportunities for employment, education, health, and commerce can enrich our lives, but only if we can get to them. At DOT, we understand how important it is for people living in tribal communities and rural parts of America to have safe, reliable access to jobs, schools, hospitals, stores, and business centers.
With our 2012 TIGER grants, DOT is proud to deliver the support these communities need to put their friends and neighbors to work creating affordable transportation choices and improved access to opportunity.