DOT Awards TIGER Grants

Railroad projects in seven states were the top winners Wednesday when the Department of Transportation announced recipients of $1.5 billion in TIGER grants.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program supported the Crescent Corridor Intermodal Freight Rail Project in Tennessee and Alabama with $105 million, the CREATE projects in Chicago with $100 million, and the National Gateway Freight Rail Corridor in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland with $98 million.

All told, DOT awarded 51 grants amid a field of 1,400 applicants. The grants were part of last year's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which passed its first anniversary Wednesday.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the grants "will tackle the kind of major transportation projects that have been difficult to build under other funding programs. This will help us meet the 21st century challenges of improving the environment, making our communities more livable and enhancing safety, all while creating jobs and growing the economy."

Other freight projects that got the stimulus nod include $20 million for the Otay Mesa port of entry in California, $20 million for rail improvements at the port of Gulfport, Miss., $12 million for infrastructure improvements at ports in Maine, and $6 million for the Southwestern Illinois Intermodal Freight Transportation Project. Hawaii received $24.5 million for reconstruction of the Pier 29 container terminal at Honolulu harbor.

The nascent marine highways industry got one grant, $30 million for the California Green Trade Corridor, to establish container-on-barge service between the port of Oakland and the inland ports of Sacramento and Stockton, Calif.

Major ports, which placed high hopes on receiving grants, were not on the TIGER list, although many of the rail intermodal projects improve connections between deepwater ports and inland markets.

- R.G. Edmonson, The Journal of Commerce.