Vitter: TIGER Grant Program Has Big Flaws, Little Transparency
Vitter comments on GAO report released today on TIGER grant program management
May 28, 2014
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter, top Republican on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) made the following statement on the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) administration of the transportation grant program created with the controversial 2009 “stimulus” funding. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program lacks transparency according to the GAO report released today. The report was initially requested by Vitter on April 3, 2013.
“There is a clear lack of transparency in the decision making process and a mishandling of the management of the program,” Vitter said. “The application and project selection process are major concerns because they lack any merit-based structure and transparency – making the program more about political needs versus our infrastructures needs.”
The TIGER grants started in the controversial $831 billion "stimulus" funding that passed Congress in 2009. In 2011, GAO reported transparency concerns with the program saying "DOT cannot definitively demonstrate the basis for its award selections, particularly the reasons why recommended projects were selected for half the awards over highly recommended ones." DOT was appropriated a total of $4.2 billion for grants through the program. Vitter has previously criticized the Obama Administration for politicizing how the grants were awarded.
Vitter initially made the request to GAO to provide oversight of the methods used for selecting who receives a TIGER grant. Vitter asked how applications are advanced and selected to ensure the process is done in a transparent manner. The GAO report reaffirms that the TIGER program continues to operate under an absence of proper administration and a lack of transparency in the decision making process.
Click here to read the text of Vitter’s letter to the GAO in 2013.