Keep your eye on the TIGER
Area transportation infrastructure projects roar into spring
Efforts to rehabilitate crumbling sidewalks and streets and upgrade transit facilities in Greater Kansas City are getting attention in Washington. Last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood praised the progress of the region’s TIGER infrastructure grant on his Fast Lane blog (http://fastlane.dot.gov/2012/03/kc-green-impact-zone.html).
TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) work began more than a year ago with improvements to a transit center northwest of Truman Road and Noland Road in Independence, Mo.
Last fall, construction crews started replacing crumbling sidewalks, curbs and driveway approaches along streets in the Green Impact Zone. More than 8 acres of concrete in sidewalks and driveways, and 9.2 miles of curb were poured as of February. Sidewalk work was completed on schedule and $6 million under budget due to low construction costs. The savings will allow Kansas City, Mo., to rehabilitate even more streets in the zone.
“Watching the progress of Green Impact Zone solutions unfold in Kansas City demonstrates how profoundly these projects can transform a community, and I think area residents, transportation fans, and livable community advocates will enjoy keeping their eye on the TIGER,” said LaHood on his blog.
The momentum continues as many more projects included in the region’s TIGER award get underway across the metro. Projects planned to start construction this spring and summer include:
- Metcalf Avenue/Shawnee Mission Parkway: New transit center in downtown Mission, Kan.;
18 new transit stops along the corridor with real-time bus-arrival information on kiosks; three park-and-ride facilities; better pedestrian access to transit facilities; and traffic-signal priority to help keep buses on schedule.
- State Avenue: Two new transit centers — 7th Street and Minnesota Avenue, and 47th Street and State Avenue — and bus-stop and pedestrian improvements along the corridor, which will facilitate connections between downtown Kansas City, Kan., and Village West, and transfers to other locations).
- Green Impact Zone: More neighborhood sidewalk and street rehabilitation; traffic-signal improvements; transit-stop upgrades; and a pedestrian bridge connecting under the Troost Avenue bridge at Brush Creek in Kansas City, Mo.
- Missouri corridors: Transit-stop and pedestrian improvements along North Oak Trafficway and in the U.S. 24 and U.S. 40 corridors of eastern Jackson County.
“TIGER is a wildly popular program that really benefits America's communities,” said LaHood. Not only are the projects fixing rundown infrastructure for residents, but they are putting people to work.
"There's a lot of long-term impact in these people…having decent sidewalks and streets to walk on and to deal with, and for handicapped people to be getting in and out," said Bill Bushey, owner of Alliance Concrete, a subcontractor who was able to hire additional crew members to do TIGER work in the zone. "And that will last a long time. Plus it's putting a lot of food on the table for a lot of people that need it."
Secretary LaHood came to Kansas City two years ago to announce $1.5 billion in the first round of federal TIGER grants, including $50 million for the metro. The grants fund projects that contribute to economic competitiveness; advance the safety and quality of transportation infrastructure; increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions; and improve quality of life through better transportation choices and connections.
The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) coordinated the region’s TIGER grant application in 2009 with the city of Kansas City, Mo.; Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas; the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority; and other partners. The metro was awarded approximately $26 million for sidewalk, street and transit improvements in the Green Impact Zone, a 150-square block area in the urban core of Kansas City, Mo. It also received $24 million for investments in key regional transit corridors.
Visit www.marc.org/recovery/TIGER to learn more about the region’s TIGER grant, track the progress of more than 100 projects, see how much money has been spent, view a photo inventory and watch videos. The Kansas City region’s TIGER projects will be completed by fall 2013.