Back to Main Blog

Grant to Improve Bus Service Into Downtown Nashville
Posted on September 29, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced a $10 million grant for the Nashville Transit Signal Priority System upgrade, one of 52 transportation projects in 37 states that will receive a total of approximately $474 million from DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2013 discretionary grant program.  The project is one of 52 transportation projects in 37 states that will receive a total of approximately $474 million from DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2013 discretionary grant program. Among these, nearly half – 25 projects funded at $123.4 million – support rural areas of the country.

The $13.8 million project includes the installation of upgraded traffic signal equipment and safety enhancements that will improve on-time bus service and provide a more comfortable ride for thousands traveling to Nashville’s Central Business District every day.   Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff was joined in Nashville by Mayor Karl Dean and local officials to announce the funds.

“These TIGER projects are the best argument you can make for investment in our transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.   “Together, they answer President Obama’s call for a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing roads and bridges, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth by returning this route to its original condition reducing the associated long-term operations and maintenance costs.”

The Nashville Transit Signal Priority System will upgrade decades-old traffic signals and add signal priority equipment for all of the fixed-route buses serving southeastern Nashville along Murfreesboro Road. The upgrades will speed bus movement throughout Nashville, allowing the city to provide riders with more frequent pick-ups and drop-offs without adding more buses to already busy streets.  The project also includes upgraded bus shelters, real-time information signs, and new pedestrian crosswalks and sidewalks. The Murfreesboro corridor carries the second-highest transit ridership in Nashville’s Metropolitan Transit Authority system, with 890,000 rides provided on this route in 2012 alone. The improvements will benefit current riders and help attract new riders to the Route 55 Bus Rapid Transit-Lite line that opened in the spring of 2013.

“This TIGER grant is a big win for the thousands of riders in Davidson County who depend on the Route 15 bus and the Route 55 bus rapid transit line to get to work, to medical appointments, to school, and other important destinations in Nashville,” said Administrator Rogoff.  “This project will specifically help the community ‘Fix it First’ – making much-needed repairs and upgrades to an aging public transit system, making it safe, reliable, and desirable.”

The highly competitive TIGER program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for large, multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources.  These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. The 2013 TIGER round alone supports $1.8 billion in overall project investments.

TIGER has enjoyed overwhelming demand since its creation, a trend continued by TIGER 2013.  Applications for this most recent round of grants totaled more than $9 billion, far exceeding the approximately $474 million set aside for the program.  In all, the Department received 585 applications from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

The projects funded through this round of TIGER illustrate the President’s goal of creating “Ladders of Opportunity” that connect people to jobs, repairing and replacing aging infrastructure with a “Fix it First” approach and contributing to America’s economic growth.

On March 26, 2013, the President signed the FY 2013 Appropriations Act, which after sequestration provided approximately $474 million for Department of Transportation national infrastructure investments.  Like the first four rounds, TIGER 2013 grants are for capital investments in infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis based on the published selection criteria.  This is the fifth round of TIGER funding.

Under all five rounds combined, the TIGER program has provided more than $3.6 billion to 270 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Demand for the program outweighed available funds, and during all five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 5,200 applications requesting more than $114.2 billion for transportation projects across the country.

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants