This quarter, ICL’s  #greentips campaign invites you to consider how you can make transportation a greener part of your life. Help keep Idaho’s air clean and your lungs healthy by signing the challenge pledge and taking action. Let us know how you plan to reduce your carbon  footprint. Will you bike to work once a week? Explore your local community’s transportation options? Get involved in transportation planning?

Building the infrastructure to support alternative transportation like biking and walking can be expensive. Luckily, communities can get financial support for this goal through various programs. One such program is the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, known more simply as TIGER.

TIGER Projects Across Idaho

A  TIGER grant provides funding for multimodal (or different types of) transportation projects. These projects create safe, connected transportation options, benefit local economies and provide healthy ways for families to get around. TIGER grants have funded more than 420 projects across the country in both rural and urban areas.

In Idaho, TIGER funding has supported projects in American Falls, Hailey, Moscow and Lewiston. TIGER funding also helped with reconstruction of Highway 95 near Worley. To compete for a TIGER grant, an applicant must show that a proposed  project will improve a community’s safety, economic competitiveness, existing route conditions, quality of life and environmental sustainability.

Currently in the Works for Idaho

For the last two years, ICL has worked  with Friends of Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and the city of Ponderay to prepare a TIGER grant application for an underpass beneath the busy Montana Rail Link/BNSF railroad tracks. An underpass would allow residents  of Ponderay and Kootenai to access the lakeshore and Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail without illegally crossing the railroad tracks on foot or driving to Sandpoint. The underpass project  would also boost Ponderay and the region’s economy through smart, limited development on the shoreline.

This year, ICL and Friends of Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail are organizing the 5th Annual Bay Trail Fun Run. The 5k/10k race takes runners out and back along the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail. Proceeds from the event go toward  the matching  funds needed for  the TIGER grant application.

What You Can Do to Help

TIGER grants bring tremendous benefits to communities around the country. But the President  has proposed slashing the transportation infrastructure budget, a move that would eliminate the TIGER grant program. If the program is cut, multimodal transportation projects such as the Ponderay underpass will have nowhere to turn for funding.

Congress will review the 2018 federal budget proposal in September. Speak up for multimodal transportation infrastructure now and tell your members of Congress to oppose cuts to the TIGER grant program. Our economy, our safety, our environment and our quality of life depend on it.