Dear Campaign Advocate,
Support for H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act (ACT Act) of 2010, is heating up! This proposed legislation is the direct result of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) Campaign for Active Transportation, and 47 congressional members have co-sponsored the bill. We’re continuing to work with partners and legislators to bolster support.
Simultaneously, other programs provide the opportunity for you as local advocates to advance your active transportation agendas. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) just issued its first round of guidelines for “TIGER II,” a $600 million program in the 2010 appropriations bill. TIGER II follows the very successful “Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery” (TIGER) grants, funded through last year’s stimulus program.
After we notified you of the original TIGER funding opportunity last June, three campaign communities—Camden, N.J. ($23 million), Chittenden County, Vt. ($3.15 million), and Central Indiana ($20.5 million)—put in successful bids to invest in their active transportation networks, as we reported at the time. We hope even more of you can secure funding to promote walking and bicycling this time around!
Two overarching frameworks of the TIGER II guidelines bode well for active transportation advocates:
- TIGER II is to be closely tied to $40 million in land-use aid grants from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of the Obama administration’s sustainable communities effort. Formally connecting USDOT’s merit-based TIGER formula with HUD’s land-use goals would "encourage and reward more holistic planning efforts and result in better projects being built with Federal dollars." Walking and biking infrastructure, particularly as it connects to transit, is positioned to do well in this context.
- While the original TIGER program prioritized immediate job creation, TIGER II applicants “will need to be competitive on the merits of the medium to long-term impacts of the projects themselves.” Given the benefits of more walking and bicycling, campaign communities should fare well under this new, expanded evaluation of application impacts.
Additional key points regarding TIGER II funding include:
- A 20-percent match requirement (may not apply to rural applicants).
- $140 million allocated specifically for rural communities.
- Applications must be for between $10 and $200 million (minimum for rural communities is $1 million).
- There is no set time limit for project completion (i.e., projects don’t have to be shovel-ready).
- The program was announced in this past Monday’s Federal Register.
- Public comments on preliminary criteria1 (including those above) will be accepted until May 7, 5 p.m. EST.
- A final joint notice of TIGER II by USDOT and HUD is expected by late May.
- Pre-applications will be due July 16, 5 p.m. EST.
- Final applications will be due August 23, 5 p.m. EST.
- Grant winners are expected to be notified by September 15.
Given our success in the original TIGER funding program, we are excited to see what kind of applications you put together this time around.
Now go get ‘em, tiger!
1 Instructions to submit comments are found on page 2 of the TIGER II section of Monday's Federal Register.