As part of President Obama’s push to provide federal money for programs that could potentially generate jobs, the Dept. of Transportation announced Dec. 15, 2011, that it was funding 46 projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico, several months ahead of the initially planned timing. The projects involve roads, bridges, mass transit, air and sea ports, railways, and facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians in urban and rural areas, including a few tribal settings.
- TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery), 2011 Awards (includes brief summaries of each project, only some of which mention the number of temporary or permanent jobs created); press release; overall TIGER page.
The awards range from $1 million to $20 million, and cover anywhere from a small fraction to nearly all of a project’s anticipated total cost. The total funding is $511 million.
Your coverage of this expedited funding can focus on topics such as the environmental pros and cons of each project, how urgent the projects really are, how “shovel-ready” they are, how many temporary and permanent jobs will be created, their merits in comparison to those of the 802 competing projects they beat out, local opinions about their pros and cons, whether federal funding is appropriate (compared to state or local funding), and the political implications of the early funding as the presidential campaign heats up.