The Obama administration awarded the largest share of $600 million in TIGER grants to projects in Democratic areas even though Republicans represent 34 more House districts across the country, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Democratic areas received 48percent of the funding, while Republican territories claimed just 33 percent. The rest of the money went to projects that crossed district lines.
Republicans are claiming this type of favoritism has been going on ever since the TIGER program was created in 2009 as part of President Obama’s $840 billion stimulus package to help the country’s economy.
On the other side of the argument, Democrats say more grants naturally go toward the infrastructure needs of urban areas, where the party continues to outnumber Republicans.
Last year projects in 30 Democratic-held congressional districts received grants totaling $303 million while projects in 20 GOP-held districts won grants totaling $140 million. Two projects spanning district lines received grants in 2013 totaling $13 million.
“Just by the numbers one has to say that is looks like politics is involved because Democratic districts fare far better, significantly better than Republican districts,” Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) told the Associated Press. “This is more about funding President Obama’s political needs than funding our infrastructure needs.”
A spokesperson for the Transportation Department told the AP that politics never play a role when it comes to TIGER grants.
“TIGER is a merit-based, competitive program, and DOT funds the best projects that are submitted, no matter where they are located,” spokesman Brian Farber said. “In fact, a number of Republicans championed projects in cities that are represented by Democrats and vice versa. Most of our TIGER projects received bipartisan support. Many projects have Democratic mayors, Republican governors and a split congressional delegation.”