WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart (IL-12) announced his fight to save the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants, or TIGER grants, designed to support vital transportation infrastructure projects.
“Today, I’ve delivered a letter to the subcommittee signed by 126 fellow members of Congress,” Enyart stated last Wednesday. “This overwhelming support shows how vital TIGER grants are to our communities across the country – and particularly right here in Southern Illinois.”
Enyart delivered the letter to the House Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee on Wednesday, July 30. The letter requested that the subcommittee appropriations bill restore the over 80% cut from funding for the grants.
Over $28 million dollars in TIGER grants have been awarded to Southern Illinois communities since the program was initiated. These grants have included funding for America’s Central Port in Madison County as well as the Alton Regional Multimodal Transportation Center. With a significant reduction in funding, similar grants are in jeopardy for future applicants.
“Investment in infrastructure creates jobs in communities throughout the United States while it builds and repairs our nation’s highways, bridges, and mass transit,” read the letter from Enyart. “The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that we will need to invest $3.6 trillion in infrastructure by the year 2020. In 2013, in an evaluation of capacity, condition, and public safety, among other critical characteristics, the ASCE gave American infrastructure a D+. Cutting funding to the TIGER grant program would be a terrible mistake in light of the drastic need to improve our infrastructure and to protect American jobs.”
The subcommittee’s proposal would provide only $100 million to the program, for which cities and municipalities across the country would have to compete. Enyart’s letter requests the funding to be brought to a level of $550 million.