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Senators decry House Committee’s plan to eliminate TIGER funding from budget, urge Chairman Collins and Ranking Member Reed to reject plan to gut critical transportation investment program that helps communities carry out transportation projects 

In new letter, Senators argue that elimination of TIGER program would “hurt states, local governments, ports, and transit agencies throughout America working to solve complex multimodal transportation challenges.” 

Senators: TIGER “puts people to work, boosts regional economies, and improves infrastructure in our states and across the country.” 

(Washington, D.C.)  – Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and 28 of their Senate colleagues sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Chairman Susan Collins and Ranking Member Jack Reed yesterday to express serious concerns regarding the House Committee on Appropriations’ elimination of funding for the TIGER program in their Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill approved on July 17th. The Senators argued that the package falls short in supporting critical infrastructure projects across the country and urged them to include robust funding for the effective TIGER program in the Senate’s funding bill.  In their letter the Senators noted TIGER’s bipartisan support and the difference the program has made in their states, arguing that over 7,300 applications for more than $165 billion in transportation projects have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) over the life of the program, demonstrating a clear need for continued investment in the TIGER program to meet the growing needs of communities throughout the nation. Since 2009, DOT has awarded $5.1 billion through TIGER to facilitate 421 innovative, multimodal projects in every state in the nation, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

“Our national infrastructure faces serious challenges and the need for continued investment to address aging infrastructure, spur economic development, and support good middle class jobs cannot be overstated,” the Senators wrote.

In addition to Senators Murray, Durbin, Hassan, and Schatz, the letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeffrey Merkley (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

 

July 20, 2017

 

The Honorable Susan M. Collins

Chairman

Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Senate Committee on Appropriations

Dirksen 184

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable Jack Reed

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Senate Committee on Appropriations

Hart 125

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

Dear Chairman Collins and Ranking Member Reed:

Our national infrastructure faces serious challenges and the need for continued investment to address aging infrastructure, spur economic development, and support good middle class jobs cannot be overstated. That is why we have serious concerns that the Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill approved by the House Committee on Appropriations on July 17 has fallen short in supporting critical infrastructure projects by eliminating funding for the National Infrastructure Investments program (TIGER). As you continue your work on the Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we strongly urge you to include robust funding for this effective program.

Since its creation in 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $5.1 billion to 421 innovative, multimodal projects in every state in the nation, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. Each year the demand for TIGER far exceeds the amount of funding available. Over the life of the program, DOT has received more than 7,300 applications for more than $165 billion in transportation projects throughout the country, which clearly demonstrates the need for continued investment in the TIGER program.

The TIGER program enjoys support from Democrats and Republicans alike, as we have seen firsthand the difference the program can make in our states. In January during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing, Secretary Chao noted TIGER is "one area of great agreement" in Congress and that the funding levels for this program were a "modest sum." Not funding TIGER would disregard the vast bipartisan support for this high impact, cost effective, and competitive program which leverages private, state, and local investment. It would also hurt states, local governments, ports, and transit agencies throughout America working to solve complex multimodal transportation challenges.

This unique program puts people to work, boosts regional economies, and improves infrastructure in our states and across the country. TIGER merits continued investment, and we urge you to reject proposals to eliminate the program and to provide robust funding for TIGER.

Sincerely,