Senate Transportation Bill With TIGER Funds Expected Before August: Collins

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By Shaun Courtney

TIGER grants will be funded in the Senate Appropriations transportation bill, and the measure will likely be released and marked up in subcommittee within the next two weeks, the head of the subcommittee told Bloomberg BNA on July 12.

President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget and the House Appropriations transportation bill both cut the popular Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program’s $500 million as funded in fiscal 2017.

Senate Appropriations transportation-housing subcommittee Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) is taking a different tack.

“I’m not for zeroing it out,” she said.

2009 Inception

The Obama-era competitive grant program had funded projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since its inception in 2009.

“I’m a strong supporter of the TIGER grant program; I believe that it has helped many states and regions meet transportation needs that they would not otherwise have been able to do,” Collins told Bloomberg BNA.

Democrat appropriators in the House objected to the loss of funding in their chamber’s version during the subcommittee markup July 11.

Subcommittee ranking member David Price (D-N.C.) said during markup that Democratic and Republican mayors are “clamoring” for more grants.

“Sometimes it seems the program’s only fault in the view of its critics is it was established by President Obama,” Price said.

The full House Appropriations markup for the transportation bill is scheduled for July 17 at 7 p.m.

Chao Testimony

The Senate subcommittee will begin working on its bill after hearing from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on July 13, Collins said.

Chao’s position in defending the president’s transportation budget request is a “difficult” one, Collins said.

“I’m not sure that she was able to have the kind of input into it that a secretary would normally have,” Collins said.

Chao appears at the Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittee July 13 at 2 p.m.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shaun Courtney in Washington at scourtney@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at pHendrie@bna.com

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