To much fanfare, USDOT announced the winners of the stimulus’ TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants yesterday, with two coming to our region.
New York City’s Moynihan Station project to convert the Farley Post Office to a train hall received $83 million and now has enough funds for the first phase of construction. This phase will add two new entrances to Penn Station west of Eighth Avenue; add additional escalators, elevators, and stairs to train platforms; and expand the western part of Penn Station, reducing the amount of time it takes passengers to deboard trains and making more frequent service possible. The award was applauded by the Friends of Moynihan Station, an alliance of groups supporting the project that includes TSTC.
Counties in Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey won $23 million for expansion of bike and pedestrian trails that will fill gaps in the Philadelphia region’s trail network and the East Coast Greenway.
Unfortunately, with over $56 billion in applications submitted for the $1.5 billion program, many worthy projects missed out on funds. Among the worthiest was New Haven’s plan to use TIGER funds to jump start a replacement of Route 34 with more walkable urban development. Thankfully, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano has said he will “find the resources” for the project even without the grant.
The TIGER program was designed to fund projects that bolster sustainability, and provided a glimpse into the Obama administration’s green transportation philosophy. Reconnecting America points out that only 23% of program funds went to roads, with the rest split between freight, transit, bike and pedestrian, and multimodal projects.
Image: Via Friends of Moynihan Station.