Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

U.S. House Passes Bill Slashing TIGER Grants, Shawnee County's Means for Replacing Willard Bridge

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

U.S. House Passes Bill Slashing TIGER Grants, Shawnee County's Means for Replacing Willard Bridge

Article excerpt

The U.S. House of Representatives late Tuesday night approved an appropriations bill with steep cuts to a program Shawnee County officials have hoped to utilize in replacing the Willard Bridge, but the county's public works director doesn't believe the cuts will hinder the county's chances.

Just before midnight, the House passed the 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, H.R. 2577, 216- 210.

The legislation cuts funding for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants by 80 percent in fiscal year 2016, from $500 million to $100 million.

On Monday, Shawnee County public works director Tom Vlach told county commissioners his department had successfully met last Friday's deadline in submitting its application for a $16.7 million TIGER grant. In an email to commissioners Wednesday, Vlach said the proposed cuts shouldn't harm the county's application.

"Our application is for FY 2015 TIGER grant funds and Congress is considering trimming the FY 2016 TIGER program," Vlach said. "As such, if the TIGER grant program is cut for next year, it should be irrelevant to our application."

While Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican representing Shawnee County, has said previously that she supports the county's efforts to seek federal funding for the bridge, Jenkins voted in favor of the House legislation cutting TIGER grants Tuesday night.

"This bill is not perfect, but on balance, is vital if we hope to live within our budget constraints," Jenkins said in a statement Wednesday. "In addition to $100 million for TIGER Grants, this bill also provides for over $41 billion in spending from the Highway Trust Fund on highway projects."

Jenkins said passage of an appropriations bill was critical lest transportation funding, including TIGER grant funding, run out completely.

"While Shawnee County has put together a very strong and compelling grant proposal which I support, it is ultimately up to unelected federal bureaucrats as to whether the grant gets funded," Jenkins said. "This bill not only leaves open the option of them getting what is an extremely competitive grant, but allows for other avenues of possible funding in the near future. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.