Money sometimes seems to get lost in the halls of our nation’s Capitol. This appears to be the case for next year’s round of TIGER grant awards which have been an integral part of revitalizing not just our nation’s transportation infrastructure, but also that of Philadelphia.
What was an allocation of $500 million for these grants this year has been chopped down to a mere $100 million for 2016. This level of funding has been approved by the House and is now working its way through the Senate.
Since the program’s inception in 2009, $4.2 billion has been given to fund 342 projects across the nation.
The folks at peopleforbikes.org have launched national online petition campaign to help keep the program at its current level of funding. To join the fight click here: Tell The Senate to Support Bike Funding.
Here’s an infographic from PeopleForBikes explaining how TIGER Grants work.
Philadelphia cyclists have reaped the benefits of these grants. Have you enjoyed the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk? That was partially funded by TIGER grants. The same goes for the improved cycling conditions on Walnut Street Bridge, the creation of the Delaware Avenue Trail, and the pedestrian bridge connecting the Schuylkill Banks to the River Park at 25th and Spruce.
Dillworth Plaza, improvement of traffic signals along three major traffic corridors, and the rebuilding of the Wayne Junction Power Station which powers much of SEPTA’s transit systems, have been the recipients of TIGER grants. These funds are also going towards the restructuring of SEPTA’s northeast corridor separate passenger trains from freight trains and they will also help fund a major study of Roosevelt Boulevard which will look at restructuring possibilities to improve conditions for buses, pedestrians, along with through and local traffic.
This is an important program not just for Philly but for the nation as a whole and it needs to continue with more funding, not less.
– Zach Mentzer