Tuesday, December 01, 2009

More federal streetcar bucks?

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in New Orleans, announces $280 million in federal streetcar and bus money to be made available. Streetsblog.org has the story.

It isn't new money, but unallocated funding for "New Starts" programs and buses.
Here's what Streetsblog's Elana Schor writes:

The money is set to be divided into two parts. The first would award $130 million to streetcars and "urban circulators," with a focus on proposals that promote mixed-use development in local neighborhoods. No project can win more than $25 million from that pot, however, which would provide about 12 percent of the funding New Orleans needs for its ambitious streetcar expansion plan.

The second $150 million group of bus grants would go to proposals that "provide access to jobs, health care, and education, and/or contribute to the redevelopment of neighborhoods into pedestrian-friendly vibrant environments," the U.S. DOT said in its announcement.

Obviously, there's no way to know today whether Charlotte's fledgling streetcar project might be eligible for any of that streetcar pot of money. Or what $25 million would pay for.


Anonymous said...

$25M could maybe serve as match to local TIF and MSD funding (not County sales tax) for a starter alignment, say JCSU to Presby.

Anonymous said...

How can we afford any of these funds? This country is bankrupt.

Cato said...

with a focus on proposals that promote mixed-use development in local neighborhoods.

On this basis, the Elizabeth/Plaza-Midwood portion would likely be at a disadvantage. That swath is already one of the most successful mixed-use areas of the city - it doesn't need to be "promoted."

The West end of the line might be another story.

But still, at $25 million, it's only 5% of the projected cost.

Brendan said...

The stretch of Elizabeth Avenue with the recently laid in-street rail looks amazing and is just screaming to be used. The Lynx has been amazingly successful as far as a commuter rail goes, but in order for it to be a successful member of the uptown transportation system it needs the crosswise streetcar line at the transportation center.

I live in 4th ward, and to get to any place in SouthEnd requires either driving or walking to a Lynx station 6 to 7 blocks away (depending on route). If I could just walk 2 blocks to tryon street and take the street car to the lynx it would be perfect. Not to mention the area south of CPCC being accessible to uptown foot traffic.

Anonymous said...

Wow walking 6 blocks. So 2 blocks would be much better. Gimme a break. Walk your lazy butt somewhere.

Brendan said...

Non-constructive comments aside, it has nothing to do with being lazy or not, it is about the time it takes to get from point A to point B. Should I choose mass transit over driving somewhere I would like the option of getting where I'm going in a reasonable amount of time. 6 blocks is half a mile which means you have to factor in about 10 to 15 minutes extra time.

Anonymous said...

If parking was enough of a headache, you would walk. Just sayin'.

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Anonymous said...

I can answer the question of what $25 million would pay for.

It would pay for the next study on whether or not we should continue studying whether or not to build the streetcar line.