Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Federal Funding

Will Senate Republicans Send Back Their Own States’ TIGER Money?

TIGER grants, announced last year, hang in the balance as the Senate debates the package of House-passed spending cuts. Congress is about to vote on another extension of the current budget, cutting another $2 billion per week. (Up until now, those "cuts" have mostly been budget items from 2010 that the Democrats weren't going to ask for in 2011.) But will Democrats agree to cut innovative transportation projects that rose to the top of a competitive national process? And more to the point -- will Republicans?

false

The Associated Press reported that a majority of Republican Senators oppose rescissions of TIGER money that was granted to their states.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., wants Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to speed up the review process so her state can get its $20 million, one-fifth the cost of replacing a bridge from Portsmouth, N.H., to Kittery, Maine.

"This is the No. 1 transportation priority for New Hampshire and Maine as well," Ayotte said in an interview. "Because this bridge is in such disrepair, it's a huge public safety issue."

At a hearing this week, LaHood told Ayotte he would expedite the review. But he also tried to make clear to senators that going along with the House measure would mean no money for most projects. "We just want to make sure everybody understands that," LaHood said.

At $47.7 million, the most expensive grant in jeopardy would pay for streetcar line in Atlanta. The railroad project in Fort Worth comes in at No. 2, at $34 million. The streetcar line in Salt Lake City is No. 4, with a $26 million grant. Each state is represented by two GOP senators.

Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for the House spending bill, but in reality, they knew it would not pass the Democratic-majority chamber.

The AP goes on to say that Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is defending the Fort Worth rail project, which includes construction of underpasses for pedestrians and bikers, as "an important issue for public safety." Republican John Hoeven, a new senator from North Dakota, is willing to fight for the $14.1 million slated to go to the Minot Bypass project, which would provide a railroad grade separation. "I think that's an example of something that should be funded and I think in the final budget deal, it will be," Sen. Hoeven said. And Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a champion at spending cuts, wants to keep the TIGER money for the Salt Lake City streetcar system, saying, "This is a rail system that really is needed and has been promised, and I think it ought to be granted."

Hatch's Senate colleague from Utah, however, is one Republican who wants to see TIGER grants cut, according to the AP, which quotes him as saying, "With a $1.65 trillion deficit and $14 trillion national debt, there is no question we need to look at serious spending reductions. A logical place to start would be money that has been allocated but not spent."

The Senate's hard-fought two-week extension for passing a budget for the rest of FY2011 expires this Friday. The new three-week extension really only gives the Senate two more weeks, since both houses are on recess next week.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Eric the Relic: In Blaming Dead Pedestrians, Adams Seizes Long-Discredited and Hateful Messaging

It's a time-honored car culture tactic: If you can’t or won’t protect pedestrians, make them take the rap.

July 25, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines: ‘We’ll See You in Court, Gov.’ Edition

Today's the day that City Comptroller Brad Lander and his team of legal eagles will start the fight to save congestion pricing!

July 25, 2024

Hochul Must Put Up or Shut Up on Congestion Pricing, New Senate Transportation Chair Says

Gov. Hochul must produce a "100-day plan" to replace the $16.5 billion MTA funding shortfall created by her decision to cancel congestion pricing.

July 24, 2024

DOT Begins Safety Upgrades for Atlantic Av. But Locals Want More

Some changes are coming for Atlantic, but they're not enough, say street safety advocates.

July 24, 2024

MTA Contractor Scrambles to Refund Fake Charges After OMNY ‘Upgrade’ Goes Awry

Cubic is working to issue refunds to riders improperly charged thanks to the glitch, a spokesman said.

July 24, 2024
See all posts