Dear Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price:
We write to request that you fully fund the President's request for $1.25 billion for the TIGER program in the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016.
TIGER -- formally known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery -- is a nationwide competitive grant program that creates jobs by funding investments in transportation infrastructure by states, local governments, and transit agencies. The TIGER program funds innovative projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or a metropolitan area. TIGER projects are required to deliver benefits in five critical national objectives, including safety, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, livability, and environmental sustainability.
Investment in transportation infrastructure is essential for economic growth. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) evaluated the condition of America's public infrastructure in 2013 and gave our country a grade of "D+". ASCE estimates that we will need to invest $3.6 trillion by 2020 in order to improve our nation's infrastructure. Furthermore, investment in infrastructure creates jobs for American workers tasked with building and repairing our nation's highways, railways, ports, and mass transit.
The President requested $1.25 billion for TIGER in FY 2016, as part of an expanded TIGER program that provides $7.5 billion over 6 years. This expanded TIGER program will create jobs, encourage innovation, and modernize transportation infrastructure for the 21st century.
We also request that the T-HUD bill not include any language restricting the types of projects that can qualify for TIGER. Last year, the House version of the FY 2015 T-HUD bill included restrictive language that would have prohibited certain types of transportation projects -- such as mass transit -- from receiving TIGER funding. In order to address the tremendous need for infrastructure across our nation and make certain that all communities benefit, it is important that all types of transportation projects are eligible to receive TIGER funding.
We therefore urge you to provide full funding of the President's request for $1.25 billion for TIGER grants in FY 2016 without restrictive language. We appreciate your attention to our concerns.