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Steve Chiotakis: The White House has announced $1.5 billion for special transportation grants. It's part of the massive federal stimulus program passed more than a year ago. And as Andrea Bernstein from member station WYNC reports, competition for the money is already heating up.


Andrea Bernstein: The roll-out stated with a tweet from Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood. It said: "Grrrr . . . DOT's TIGER is coming." TIGER:

Schroeer: Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.

That's Will Schroeer of the group "Smart Growth America." He says TIGER grants do more than just get money out into the economy:

Will Schroeer: But also, point the way towards the kinds of transportation projects we need to be funding for the future.

Among the grants: Untangling the network of passenger and freight rail lines around Chicago, building a 17-mile "bus rapid transit" line in Las Vegas. And a network of bike lanes connecting Philadelphia over the Delaware River to its poor cousin, Camden, N.J.

Skeptical a bike lane causes economic activity? Spencer Finch of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council says you're wrong:

Spencer Finch: The more people you have out there biking, the more people you have out there walking. You know, people attract people.

Finch says one Philadelphia bike lane built earlier was supposed to attract 500 people a day. It now gets 16,000 daily riders.

In New York, I'm Andrea Bernstein for Marketplace.