Q. Recovery Act Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program

Answer

What is the aim of the TIGGER Program and how much funding is available?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided $100 million to be distributed as discretionary grants to public transit agencies for capital investments that will assist in reducing the energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions of public transportation systems.

Who is eligible to receive TIGGER grants?

Only U.S. transit agencies are eligible to receive TIGGER grants.  A consolidated proposal with more than one project may be submitted by a transit agency, or an organization on behalf of more than one transit agency, such as a designated recipient, Metropolitan Planning Organization, State Transit Association, or State Departments of Transportation.  Grants will be made for particular projects directly to public transportation agencies.

What projects may be proposed?

Projects from U.S. transit agencies that either reduce energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions through a capital investment will be evaluated.

How is capital investment being defined for the TIGGER Program?

For the purposes of the TIGGER project, a capital investment is defined as any eligible expense defined in 49 U.S.C. 5302(a) (1) that will assist in the reduction of the energy consumption of a public transportation system or the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of a public transportation system.  This excludes some elements of the statutory definition of a capital project, such as fleet expansion or fixed guideway extensions because these types of projects would increase transit agency energy consumption.

In general, what types of projects are eligible under the TIGGER Program?

While FTA urges transit agencies to be innovative in their solutions to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, eligible projects may include, but are not limited to the following: replacement of existing vehicles with more energy-efficient vehicles, repowering existing vehicles with more energy-efficient propulsion, incorporation of wayside energy storage for captured regenerated energy in rail transit systems, and extensions to catenary fixed guideway systems that result in reduced energy consumption.

What is the deadline for submitting TIGGER proposals?

May 22, 2009 was the deadline for accepting proposals for FTA's Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program.  Under this program, $100 million in federal funding is made available to transit agencies for projects that will reduce either energy consumption, greenhouse gases, or both.  FTA received 224 applications for 561 projects with a total value of over $2 billion by the May 22, 2009 deadline.  On October 13, 2009, FTA published a Federal Register Notice announcing the selection of 43 projects to receive the $100 million available in funding.

Is any local match required to participate in the TIGGER Program?

No, there is no local match requirement for the TIGGER Program.  The Federal funding share for TIGGER Program grants is 100%.  Transit agencies may propose a lower Federal share.

What are the upper and lower limits of a total project(s) cost(s), if any?

Each submitted proposal must request a minimum of $2,000,000.  FTA will allow transit agencies to apply together to reach this threshold.  Some projects within a proposal may be funded at less than $2,000,000.  The maximum grant amount is $25,000,000.

Can a TIGGER project be combined with another Federally-funded project of relevance or with other ARRA funds?

Yes, however funds will be awarded as separate grants.

Can projects be considered under both energy consumption reduction and greenhouse gas reduction criteria?

Yes.  In this case the proposal must provide project measurement information for both criteria.

What is included in energy consumption?

Energy consumption is energy purchased directly by the public transportation system.  It includes both revenue and non revenue operations directly operated by the agency, but not energy used for purchased services.  It includes fuel used by an agency to generate energy, but not energy generated by an agency.  As an example, a diesel generator operated by an agency would count the diesel used by the generator but not the electricity produced by the generator.  

How does a transit agency receive credit for sustainable energy sources such as adding solar panels to the roof of an existing facility or adding windmills to storage yard?

These types of projects would reduce the energy consumption of an agency if they are used to replace energy currently purchased from a third party since energy produced on site by wind or solar (or some other sustainable method, such as geothermal) is not counted as part of a transit agency’s energy consumption.

Should a transit agency include the energy used in administrative buildings when calculating the agency’s total energy usage?

Yes.

Are there tools available to help calculate energy savings and conversions?

The Center for Transportation Analysis of Oakridge National Laboratory of the Department of Energy provides information and links on how to convert typical energy units to BTUs in the Transportation Energy Data Book at http://cta.ornl.gov/data/appendix_b.shtml

FTA will also post a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet on its webpage at http://www.fta.dot.gov/ to help with calculations.

Can a proposal include a project for a capital project that will be operated by a third-party (e.g., a bus purchase for contracted operations)?

Yes, if the agency can demonstrate that the capital investment will result in energy consumption reductions directly to the agency (e.g., the agency also supplies diesel fuel for the operations).

Can a proposal request funding for the incremental cost of including energy consumption reduction as part of a capital investment (e.g., the agency intends to use ARRA funds to purchase 10 diesel buses – the project will request funds for the incremental costs of purchasing 10 hybrid-electric buses instead)?

Yes.

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse Gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere expressed in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.  The principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities are: Carbon Dioxide (CO2); Methane (CH4); Nitrous Oxide (N2O); and Fluorinated Gases (Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride).

What greenhouse gases are considered to be emitted by a public transportation agency?

Only those greenhouse gas emissions produced by the transit agency, otherwise known as direct emissions will be evaluated within the TIGGER Program. Direct Emissions include:
• Stationary combustion from boilers and furnaces
• Mobile combustion in revenue and non-revenue vehicles operated by the agency
• Physical or chemical processes [generally not applicable for transit agencies]
• Fugitive sources such as methane leaks from refueling facilities, or leakage of Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) from transformers or Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from air conditioning equipment

When calculating greenhouse gas emissions for my transit agency, do we include green house gas emissions for the generation of electricity purchased from an off-site power utility?  

No, for the purposes of the TIGGER Program, FTA is not requesting information on greenhouse gas emissions generated by offsite power utilities as these are considered indirect emissions.

Are there tools available to help calculate greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 equivalencies?

The Environmental Protection Agency provides information and a calculator on greenhouse gas conversions at: http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html

FTA will also post a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet on its webpage at http://www.fta.dot.gov/ to help with calculations.

What are the evaluation criteria of the TIGGER Program?

Projects may be considered under either or both energy consumption reduction and greenhouse gas emission reduction criteria.

Energy Consumption Reduction Criteria:  Total energy savings that are projected to result from the project and projected energy savings of the project as a percentage of the total energy usage of the public transit agency.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Criterion:  Total greenhouse gas reductions that are projected to result from the project.

Other Criteria common to all projects:  Return on Investment, whether the project is ready to implement, the capacity of the applicant, the degree of innovation in a project, and the national applicability of a project.

Who will be evaluating the proposals for the TIGGER Program?  

The TIGGER evaluation team will be comprised of individuals from FTA, the Department of Energy, and others on an as needed basis.

Does the TIGGER Program trigger the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review?

Yes, because FTA would be providing federal funding, FTA and the transit agency grant recipient must comply with all environmental requirements including, but not limited to, NEPA, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act.  FTA does not award funds in a grant until a Categorical Exclusion determination, Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), or Record of Decision (ROD) has been signed.  

Because of the limited timeframe for completion of NEPA, Transit Agencies should consider proposing energy or greenhouse gas reduction projects that qualify for a categorical exclusion or are close to obtaining a FONSI or ROD.  For further information on NEPA and ARRA, see FTA’s regularly-updated ARRA webpage on Section III. Grant Development/Award, Section F.

Where is the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet mentioned in Appendix E of the Federal Register Notice that may be used to estimate energy or greenhouse gas reduction?

The Excel file is at the following link: TIGGER Calculator to Complete Appendix A of NOFA

How do applicants complete the tables referenced in Appendix E of FTA’s March 24, 2009 Federal Register Notice of Availability of Fiscal Year 2009 Funding for Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Grants?

Applicants need to download the Excel file at the following link:  TIGGER Calculator to Complete Appendix A of NOFA and follow the instructions to complete the Excel file.  Once completed, the Excel file needs to accompany the grant application.

Can a supplier or manufacturer submit an application on behalf of a transit agency?

No, applications can only be received from public transportation agencies, or applications may be submitted on behalf of public transportation agencies by designated recipients, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, State Transit Associations, Transportation Management Associations, or State Departments of Transportation.  Grant awards will be made for particular projects directly to public transportation agencies.

What is the definition of a public transportation agency?  Does a provider, who receives funds from the Section 5310 Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities program, meet the definition of a public transportation agency?  

A public transportation agency is a publicly-owned operator of public transportation eligible to receive Federal assistance under chapter 53 of title 49, United States Code.  If a provider receiving Section 5310 through a state is a local governmental authority, then it meets the definition of a public transportation agency.

How long should a proposal be?

Proposals should be no longer than 30 pages, including all attachments and appendices.  To ensure uniformity and improve ease of review, preferred font type and size is Times New Roman 12.

Can TIGGER funds be used for system expansions which reduce overall energy or greenhouse emissions from the transit property?

The Federal Register Notice of 3/24/09 states:  “Eligible expenses must meet the following criteria: (1) The expense must be an eligible capital expense as defined under 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(1); and (2) The project will assist in the reduction of the energy consumption of a public transportation system or the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of a public transportation system. This excludes some elements of the statutory definition of a capital project, such as fleet expansion or fixed guideway extensions because these types of projects would increase transit agency energy consumption.”
  
It is very difficult to measure before/after energy use for a proposed project.  Are alternative estimates to actual measurement acceptable?

The applicant is required to provide sufficient data, analyses, and documentation to support the energy savings or greenhouse gas reductions claimed in the application.  The supporting documentation and data should allow one of ordinary skill in the art of energy savings or greenhouse gas reductions analyses to reproduce and/or substantiate the claims in the application.

How does the selection process for my TIGGER application work?

Proposals for the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) were due on May 22, 2009.  FTA received 224 applications for 561 projects with a total value of over $2 billion by the May 22, 2009 deadline.  On October 13, 2009, FTA published a Federal Register Notice announcing the selection of 43 projects to receive the $100 million available in funding.
   
A wide variety of projects were proposed including:

  • Bus projects such as: hybrid-electric buses, bus refurbishment,  
    battery-powered buses, buses constructed from composite materials, plug-in hybrids, CNG fueling stations, and hydrogen fueling stations; 

  • Rail projects such as:  locomotive replacement, and conversion to diesel-electric locomotives;
  • Ferry projects; and
  • Facility projects for stations, bus facilities and shelters include: solar and wind power generation; cooling and heating system improvements; lighting upgrades; geothermal heating, station remodeling, LEED certification; new furnaces; and, new roofs, insulation, windows, and doors. 

Does the TIP/STIP need to be amended for the project in order for it to even be considered or can TIP/STIP be amended anytime up to award date?

The project must have a TIP/STIP approval before it can be awarded.  However, the project does not have to have TIP/STIP signoff to be considered for award.

For more information on federal Recovery Act provisions, Answer Link

  • Last Updated Dec 13, 2016
  • Views 2
  • Answered By David Martin

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