Infrastructure Funding, Gaps and its Impact

MSA Technical Expert | with 0 Comments

Infrastructure Funding, Gaps and its Impact

Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants are crawling back, along with other sources of much needed economic development funding. The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) released its seventh batch of TIGER awards recently. This time around, rural projects received more grant dollars than in any past round!
Out of 627 applications from throughout the United States, US territories and their respectful tribal governments, only 39 projects were approved, accounting for nearly $500 million in grant funding. The award rate is merely five percent of all applicants, making it almost as hard to be awarded a TIGER grant as acceptance into a prestigious Ivy League university. Interestingly, rural TIGER applicants received a high proportion of project awards with a whopping 43% win rate, which is the highest percentage ever recorded for rural projects. TIGER grant awards are some of the most complex and competitive, but winning them opens doors for rural and tribal governmental infrastructure projects.
Notable TIGER award standouts include Bike/Pedestrian Trail Projects for both urban and rural projects, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) for urban projects. BRT urban projects are known to reduce urban congestion and decrease travel costs to urban workforce. Bike and pedestrian pathways contribute to the successful development of diverse communities by improving a community’s quality of life and attracting a competitive workforce.
There’s a major gap between the current state of Minnesota’s transportation system and available funding. Minnesota’s transportation system is considered the fifth largest transportation system in the nation. Like many states, Minnesota reported in a recent news release that they are facing an increase in their transportation funding gap.  The cost necessary to provide Minnesotans with an economically competitive multimodal transportation system over the next two decades has increased significantly, according to a recent Minnesota Department of Transportation projection. The gap being felt in Minnesota is common across the nation.
The impact on communities is obvious – a shortfall in funding will cause a delay in much needed infrastructure projects. Grant programs, like the TIGER grant, will become more and more competitive. To be successful, communities will need to be more strategic in planning their projects and savvier in their grant writing.
Project success depends on more than just technical skills. MSA takes some of the burden off clients by finding funding opportunities, coordinating applications and fulfilling the requirements of funding agencies. For more information, contact us.

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