June 25, 2012 – Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the latest round of projects funded with the TIGER funding. They announced over $500 million of transportation projects – and Michigan received just over $11 million. A transit project on the west side of the state was awarded $1.3 million and Detroit received $10 million for a bike/pedestrian project in the city. Last year, Michigan was awarded one project for less than $10 million – that is less than $20 million dollars out of over $1 billion of TIGER grants awarded to Michigan in the last two years! I have lots of concerns about this program.
I would like to know who rated our projects and why these were selected over other excellent projects that I know were submitted. Canton Township submitted a project on I-275 and Ford Road, a location that experiences the most traffic crashes in Southeast Michigan and maybe in the entire state. The City of Auburn Hills submitted an innovative bridge project that is vital to the businesses in the area. Yet, these projects were not funded – and they have been submitted year after year for funding.
I have no problem with the project that was selected, but why not one of these as well? The feds spend a lot of money requiring SEMCOG to work with transportation agencies to develop priorities among all the needs there are and then to work to fund those priorities – and then they come in and fund one good project, a good project for only $10 million that is not the highest priority in our region.
I don’t like this program, don’t know how they score the projects, and can’t help thinking we should be doing better. Secretary LaHood has talked about TIGER 5. I would rather see the money allocated by formula than another TIGER program. What do you think?
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