Recipients of an annual federal transportation grant are expected to be announced this fall. As KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports, officials in Southern Colorado are hoping the grant will help keep Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line on its current route.
The grant is known as the TIGER grant, and is part of a federal funding program that helps finance large transportation projects nationwide.
Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace helped raise matching funds from groups in Colorado for an application that, if accepted, would help fund repairs for the track along the Southwest Chief line. Pace said at a recent whistle-stop tour in La Junta he’s trying to be realistic.
"I want to be optimistic, because I feel it’s a really strong grant, but also being realistic I know that less than 5% of TIGER grants are approved so there’s really steep competition, it’s deeply political, and you know all the stars are going to have to align correctly."
The grant program has received nearly 800 applications this year, a significant increase from the 585 last year. $474 million were awarded under the TIGER grant in 2013. This year, $600 million is set aside for the program.