Cantwell-Championed Infrastructure Programs Move Forward with $1.45 Billion in Department of Transportation Funding Bill

INFRA, TIGER grants empower local, county, and state governments to tackle the freight infrastructure problems holding their economies back

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell’s (D-WA) popular INFRA freight grant program (formerly FASTLANE) continues to build momentum with the announcement that the Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee included $900 million dollars for the program in its funding bill for the Department of Transportation (DOT). Additionally, the TIGER infrastructure program, which Cantwell has supported throughout the funding process, received $550 million dollars of funding in the bill.

With no substantive progress being made by President Trump on his infrastructure agenda, programs with demonstrated success like INFRA and TIGER have become increasingly important.

“In funding these programs, Congress is recognizing the value of freight and transportation infrastructure to states like Washington. I have been hard at work securing funding for infrastructure projects that will help our economy continue to grow. That is why I worked to create the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program, which has already resulted in the single largest infrastructure grant ever received in Washington state. I have also worked to continue to fund the TIGER grant program, which the Administration sought to eliminate. TIGER has resulted in $239 million in funding for 16 projects in our state,” said Senator Cantwell.

The INFRA program, a product of Cantwell-authored legislation, provides funding for freight infrastructure projects of national or regional significance. These include railway, seaport, and highway projects that increase safety, move people and goods faster and more efficiently, and boost local and regional economies struggling with deteriorating infrastructure. In 2016 alone, Washington state received $50 million in INFRA funding, supporting fixes for the notorious Lander Street bottle neck in Seattle and the Strander Street bottleneck in Tukwila.

Since the TIGER program was created in 2009, it has awarded $5.1 billion to help facilitate 421 multimodal projects in every state in the nation. Washington state has received $239 million to support 16 projects, such as the Tacoma LINK Expansion, a new ferry terminal in Mukilteo, the North Spokane Corridor, the Mercer Corridor Redevelopment project in Seattle, the South Park Bridge Replacement in King County, the West Vancouver Freight Access project at the Port of Vancouver, improvements to I-5 to relieve congestion around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and terminal modernization projects at the Ports of Seattle and Everett.

The subcommittee’s bill will be considered by the full committee this week before heading to the Senate floor for a vote before the full body.

For every billion dollars of freight investment, it is estimated that 20,000 jobs are created. The American Society of Civil Engineers has said that a failure to adequately invest in our infrastructure could cost the country more than 875,000 jobs.