The Trump administration has prioritized rural areas over cities in the latest round of grants awarded under the $500 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) programme.
“More than 64 per cent of this round of TIGER funding was awarded to rural projects, a historic number that demonstrates this Administration’s commitment to supporting the country’s rural communities,” the Transportation Department said in a statement announcing the grants’ recipients.
As ABC news reported, Donald Trump received strong support from rural areas in the 2016 election, and of the 41 grants announced last month, more than half were awarded to projects in congressional districts represented by Republicans. This means “more road and rail projects in GOP strongholds” and less money for bike infrastructure or greenways. Cities like New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago received zero funding in the latest round.
This is a reversal from the Obama administration, which strongly favoured urban projects such as pedestrian walkways and bike trails and sometimes gave only the bare minimum required by law to rural areas. The Obama administration came under fire for using the programme to favour political supporters when around two-thirds of TIGER grants awarded in 2013 went to districts represented by Democrats.
The TIGER grant programme was established in 2009 under Obama’s economic recovery bill. The grants are distributed at the discretion of the administration, but they represent just a fraction of the more than $50 billion handed out to states each year by the Transportation Department.
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