Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) announced today that through language he successfully included in the Fiscal Year 2016 government funding bill, land ports of entry across his district will now be eligible for U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) infrastructure grants. The federal government funding bill will make available a total of $500 million in federal funding for TIGER grants. These grants make vital infrastructure improvements that ease the flow of traffic and will now be available to make our border crossings more efficient.
“Our ports of entry can now receive federal funding through TIGER grants to make important infrastructure improvements,” Congressman Cuellar said. “My district is home to the nation’s largest inland port and numerous other significant ports of entry. It is imperative that our nation’s ports and trade centers, such as those in my district and those along the border with Mexico – our nation’s third-largest trading partner and second-largest export market – receive the necessary funding to remain in peak condition. The availability of this funding will ensure that our economy continues moving forward.”
“Once again, Rep. Cuellar has demonstrated why he is so highly regarded by the border trade community,” Border Trade Alliance Chairman Russ Jones said. “Ensuring that our ports of entry are now eligible for TIGER grants is a major accomplishment that will go far in bolstering our ports’ infrastructure, helping to alleviate the congestion that slows cross-border commerce. We very much appreciate Rep. Cuellar’s efforts and thank him for being such a strong advocate for the border.”
The $500 million available under TIGER in FY 16 covers highway and bridge projects; transit projects; passenger and freight rail projects; and now infrastructure projects at land ports of entry. Under TIGER, municipalities, counties, port authorities, tribal governments, metropolitan planning organizations, or other entities at the state and local level can apply directly to DOT to receive funding for projects to improve infrastructure and ease the movement of goods and people.
In Fiscal Year 2015, DOT awarded $500 million for 39 transportation projects in 34 states from its TIGER program. This year, rural areas received 43 percent of the project awards, a higher percentage than in any previous year. DOT received 627 eligible applications from 50 states and several U.S. territories, including tribal governments, requesting 20 times the $500 million available for the program.
Among those awarded funds in Fiscal Year 2015 was the Texas Department of Transportation, which received $20.8 million in funds to construct transit facilities in growing rural areas of Texas and purchase replacement transit vehicles that will provide service to rural areas. These new facilities and vehicles will have improved safety and accessibility features for persons with disabilities.
For more information on the TIGER Program, please visit: