Analysis of U.S. DOT BUILD Grants Raises Critical Issues About Spending Priorities

Transportation for America is crunching the numbers on how the Trump administration has shifted transportation funding programs since it took over the TIGER grant program and made it into the BUILD grant program.

April 30, 2019, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Freeway Construction

Lev Kropotov / Shutterstock

"Following the announcement in April 2019 of an 11th round in BUILD competitive grants ($900 million) available to almost any public entity for transportation projects, Transportation for America released a comparative and constructive critique of USDOT’s BUILD program (formerly known as TIGER)," according to Transportation for America.

The full "Taming the TIGER" report is available for download, but Transportation for America has also published an online preview of the first three sections of the report. One post in the blog series focuses on how the BUILD program has become another federal roads program, mostly just for rural areas.

The opinions of Transportation for America about the Trump administration are clear throughout the presentation of the report, but for interested parties looking for analysis of recent transportation funding announcements by the federal government, Transportation for America is revealing the realities of the federal government's current approach to transportation funding. The big takeaways: the Trump administration has shifted funding to traditional road projects, away from transit, and the Trump administration is spending more on new roads, rather than repairing existing roads. "The first year of BUILD (round X) set two records: not only was a record share of total funding devoted to roads, a record percentage of that funding (70 percent) was dedicated to capacity expansion," according to Transportation for America.

Thursday, April 18, 2019 in Transportation for America


The Surprising Oil Tax in the Inflation Reduction Act

President Biden has made reducing gas prices paramount in his administration, so it was likely a surprise to hear a Republican senator last Sunday warn TV viewers that a revived and increased oil fee in the climate bill will increase their gas costs.

August 15, 2022 - Bloomberg News

People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets

Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.

August 14, 2022 - The New York Times

Aerial view of downtown San Antonio with Tower Life Building in foreground

San Antonio Office Tower To Become Residential

With the building more than half vacant, the new owners of the Tower Life Building plan to convert the historic tower into residences that could include affordable housing.

August 15, 2022 - San Antonio Report

Colorado River

Department of the Interior Forced to Intervene on the Colorado River

More questions than answers on the Colorado River this week as the federal government failed to deliver on threats to force Southwest states to cut back on water use.

August 19 - High Country News

For Rent

Explaining Rent Inflation

The delayed effects of changes in rent costs make rent inflation a difficult figure to pin down.

August 19 - The Atlantic

Two cyclists on a paved bike trail through short grass with Dallas buildings in background

Dallas Names 66-Mile Bike and Walking Trail

When complete, the newly named DFW Discovery Trail will incorporate 50 miles of existing trails into a regional ‘super highway.’

August 19 - The Dallas Morning News

Transportation Planner, Planning Division

San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Product Manager

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Assistant or Associate Professor of Urban Design

Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.