$20 Million TIGER Grant will Accelerate Efforts to Improve Route 37

Mar 7, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – As part of its continuing effort to fix our bridges and roads, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has targeted Route 37, which connects Cranston and Warwick, for major improvements and repairs.  Today the state’s Congressional delegation joined with Governor Gina M. Raimondo in announcing $20 million in new federal funding from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program to support and accelerate the State’s efforts. 

 

RIDOT will utilize this TIGER grant to help pay for the Route 37 Bridge and Roadway Improvement Project, which, according to RIDOT, is estimated to cost a total of $76 million.  The project will help replace or rehabilitate a series of 15 bridges and culverts along Route 37 that are in dire need of reconstruction and make safety modifications to Route 37’s westbound Exit 3 off-ramp in order to improve mobility and safety.

 

In their 2017 letter of support for the TIGER grant, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline wrote to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao: “The rehabilitation of Route 37 will help RIDOT address existing structural deficiencies, improve the safety and flow of traffic along the route, and increase economic growth in the state. It advances the State’s plans to repair or replace 150 structurally deficient bridges and to achieve a structurally sufficient rate of 90%.”

 

“This is a big-ticket highway and bridge project for the state that will enhance safety and efficiency along Route 37.  I’m pleased we were able to secure $20 million in federal support,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee, which oversees federal funding for the TIGER Grant program.  Reed helped enact TIGER grants as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and since that time, has led efforts to provide federal funding for the program.  Although President Trump’s original budget called for the elimination of TIGER grants, Reed and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the THUD Subcommittee, successfully provided $500 million for the program in the FY 2017 spending bill, and have signaled bipartisan support for significantly expanding TIGER grants in the upcoming Omnibus Appropriations bill that is currently being negotiated.  “Whether it’s roads, bridges, rail, water systems, or schools facilities, we need to get serious about investing in infrastructure.  For a decade now, TIGER grants have proven effective at helping states get these critical projects moving.  I appreciate Secretary Chao’s recognition of the importance of this project, and I look forward to working with her and Senator Collins to make additional smart, cost-effective investments in improving our transportation network.”

 

“I am thrilled that Rhode Island’s application to rebuild Route 37 has won a $20 million grant,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “We’ve fought hard for these TIGER grants, and the payoff is when Rhode Island wins them.  This key artery to I-95 needs multiple repairs for safety's sake, and the work will provide great jobs for Rhode Island.  Despite today's good news, we still need a comprehensive infrastructure bill to ready Rhode Island's and the nation's infrastructure for the twenty-first century economy and boost construction jobs in the process.”

 

“Route 37 connects two of our state’s largest cities and serves as a major artery for thousands of Rhode Islanders every day,” said Congressman Langevin. “This TIGER grant will enable the state to make much needed repairs that will reduce traffic congestion and improve motorist safety. I’m proud to join my colleagues in supporting this important project to upgrade our state’s infrastructure.”

 

“This is critical federal funding that will rebuild an important part of our state’s infrastructure,” said Congressman Cicilline. “Rhode Islanders know that there is much more work we have to do. That’s why I’m going to continue fighting for A Better Deal to Rebuild America – the Democratic plan to invest $1 trillion to make all our roads, bridges, and schools second-to-none.”

 

“We've made real progress repairing Rhode Island's critical infrastructure since I took office, but there's still more work to be done,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “This key investment of federal funds will go a long way toward building more roads and bridges fit for the 21st century. I thank our federal delegation for their continued advocacy in bringing these financial resources to our state.”

 

An estimated 42,000 vehicles per day travel along Route 37, and it is one of the state's busiest corridors, linking the two major interstate highways (1-295 and 1-95), and providing access to T.F. Green International Airport via U.S. Route 1.

 

RIDOT expects work to begin in 2019 on the eastern portion of the project from Post Road in Warwick until it crosses Route 2, and estimates those repairs will cost $34 million, while work on the western side of the project will commence later and cost an estimated $42 million.  While the TIGER grant provides $20 million in federal funds, the rest of the cost will be paid for using a combination of other federal-state formula funding, with an 80 percent federal 20 percent State split.

 

TIGER grants are competitively awarded to transportation projects around the country that have a significant national or regional impact.  Projects are selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation for their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation systems, improve safety, and enhance the quality of living and working environments for communities through increased transportation options and connections.  The program was designed to give priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate economic activity.

 

With this $20 million award, Rhode Island has now received over $108 million in TIGER funds to upgrade highways, ports, rails, and public transit.