Tapping Into TIGER Funds for Trail Projects

Posted 06/24/13 by Kevin Mills in Policy

Photo © harahanbridgeproject.com

In 2012, the U.S. Congress adopted a new bill to govern surface transportation programs through September 2014. That bill, referred to now as MAP-21, provides opportunities for creative communities to develop good networks of trails and active transportation facilities.

But the new bill came with some significant changes, and transportation planners and advocates are still coming to grips with exactly what the new bill means for local efforts to build and maintain active transportation systems such as trails, sidewalks and bike paths.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is leading the effort to provide education and resources related to MAP-21. In this blog series, we demonstrate how communities can leverage the programs funded by MAP-21.

In our third post of this series, we examine the TIGER Program. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program provides discretionary grants to state and local transportation departments. TIGER funds are highly sought after because of their size and flexibility. The grants tend to be in the millions and tens of millions of dollars range. A wide variety of major roadway or transit project types are eligible.  

Case Study: The three-state Memphis metropolitan region is rapidly becoming one of the most pro-bike, walking and trails communities. More than 80 local organizations have united under the name Mid-South Regional Greenprint to develop a comprehensive network of trails and on-street bikeways. A legacy initiative of the Greenprint is the completion of the Main to Main Project. With $15 million in TIGER funds, communities in Tennessee and bordering Arkansas are transforming an under-utilized rail bridge over the Mississippi River (right) into a vibrant multi-use trail.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy helps communities leverage TIGER funds to develop interconnected networks of trails and active transportation facilities. We recommend you use it for your largest, more complicated and yet important projects.

Do you have a success story involving TIGER funds? Or do you need help identifying the best funding sources for your project? We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch with the RTC Region Office near you. 

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