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.

1 minute read

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.

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