Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has introduced legislation to authorize $500 million of federal grant money for nationally or regionally important surface transportation projects.

The bill, S. 823, would extend from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal 2014 the $500 million authorized in last year’s surface transportation funding law, but never appropriated or disbursed. It would require the grants to be awarded on a competitive basis, in a way similar to the very popular Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery or TIGER grant program.

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