Today on Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the TIGER Grants for Job Creation Act. This bill will provide an emergency supplemental appropriation of one billion dollars over the next two years for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, which creates jobs by funding investments in transportation infrastructure. The bill is cosponsored by 36 of her colleagues.
"The economy is struggling to recover from the recession," said Congresswoman Waters. "The unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent nationally for 40 straight months and is even higher in minority communities and in many areas of the country. Moreover, the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure estimated that there is a $549.5 billion shortfall in investments in roads and bridges and an additional $190.1 billion shortfall in investments in transit."
TIGER could finance a wide variety of innovative highway, bridge and transit projects in urban and rural communities across the country, provided there is sufficient funding. One such project is the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor in Los Angeles County, a light rail project that will run through Congresswoman Waters' district. TIGER grants could be used to finance stations along this corridor in the communities of Leimert Park and Westchester, thereby ensuring that these communities have access to light rail. Projects like this reduce gridlock and create safe, affordable, convenient, and environmentally sustainable transportation choices.
"I call upon my colleagues to pass the TIGER Grants for Job Creation Act, invest in our crumbling infrastructure, and create good jobs in communities across the United States," said Congresswoman Waters.
TIGER received an appropriation of $500 million in fiscal year (FY) 2012, and the President requested $500 million in FY 2013. However, the House Appropriations Committee, which marked up the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill yesterday, did not include any funding for TIGER. Meanwhile, negotiations between House and Senate conferees over the surface transportation bill have stalled.
"It is especially unfortunate that House appropriators would defund TIGER while other transportation programs are in danger of losing their authorization," said Congresswoman Waters.