Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Cincinnati Streetcar Jilted by TIGER
Cincinnati rail junkies waited in eager anticipation for today's award announcement by Transportation Secretary LaHood. They were crushed to learn Cincinnati received no federal largess for the trolley boondoggle.
Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) is a $1.5 billion discretionary part of President Obama's $787 billion stimulus, or porkulus, depending on your point of view, passed exactly one year ago today. Roughly $50 were sought for every dollar available, so only 51 of 1381 projects received any funding.
Tucson, AZ was awarded $63 million for their streetcar boondoggle. Voters there passed a 1/2 cent sales tax in 2006 to fund the streetcar, among other things. The federal grant essentially completes the other half of their financial plan.
New Orleans, LA was awarded $45 million for their streetcar boondoggle. Funds will be used to extend "the longest continuously operating streetcar system in the world" along Loyola Avenue from the Union Passenger Terminal to Canal Street.
Portland, OR (genuflect when you say that) was awarded $23.2 million for their streetcar boondoggle on top of a $75 million earmark received last year. New money will rebuild streetcar lines on Moody Avenue after the road is buried under 14 feet of dirt and concrete to encapsulate hazardous waste.
Dallas, TX was awarded $23 million for their streetcar boondoggle, despite being considered a longshot in the competition. Perhaps using "Molly the Trolley" as a proof of concept demonstration for their urban circulator sealed the deal. More likely it's that they didn't sidestep their Regional Transportation Council, who already runs taxpayer supported (and voted) light rail.