TransitKC

Other cities applying for TIGER streetcar funds

In light of yesterday’s ordinance supporting a regional TIGER application that includes $6 million for funding of a downtown streetcar, we’ve been keeping tabs on the following cities that are making similar applications for TIGER stimulus funds:

  • Salt Lake City is applying for $35 million in TIGER funds (which augment a local match, unlike KC) to fund a two-mile streetcar line connecting a light rail station and the Sugar House business district.
  • Atlanta has funded a $600,000 study and is teaming up with the local transit agency to apply for as much as $300 million in TIGER funds (the state-wide cap) to kick-start a two-line streetcar system in the “Peachtree Corridor” connecting downtown and midtown. See peachtreecorridor.org.
  • Boise is applying for $40 million in TIGER funds to pay for a 16-block downtown streetcar route that could cost up to $65 million. Operations would be paid for through special fees assessed on adjacent property owners. See boisestreetcar.org.
  • Dallas is applying for $48 million in TIGER funds for a three-mile streetcar line connecting Dallas Union Station and the Oak Cliff Arts District. See oakcliffta.org. Dallas already has a privately-run vintage streetcar line that serves the Uptown neighborhood (and several light rail lines, of course).
  • Fort Worth is also reportedly applying for a similar amount in TIGER funds to jump-start a multi-line streetcar system.

Kansas City’s $6 million request won’t cover the entire project cost, of course, but will likely pay for any upfront design and engineering studies that will be required. KCATA estimate the cost of two-mile route connecting the River Market and Crown Center to be about $100-150 million. A new revenue stream would be needed for operating costs of about $2 million annually, which could be covered by a TDD assessed on adjacent property owners (who stand to gain the most from the system).

9 comments

9 Comments so far

  1. benkrakh August 28th, 2009 8:35 am

    Is Kansas City just afraid to have rail transit? Are they so frightened by it that they can’t ask for a decent portion of the cost like the other cities mentioned? I Just don’t understand….

  2. Jeff August 28th, 2009 8:49 am

    I don’t think people are afraid–I think a lot of folks just don’t understand it or don’t realize the potential. More of an education issue.

  3. Dave August 28th, 2009 9:15 am

    everyone has had their own reasons to vote light rail down in the past, which include:

    - dislike of a particular route
    - mistrust of city hall or KCATA
    - anti-tax or anti-transit
    - overall cost (even though feds fund 50% of capital)
    - perception that it wouldn’t benefit them directly
    - lack of leadership or urgency from mayor/council
    - lack of support from business community

    i’m sure there are more.

    thankfully, the last two were much improved in the 2008 vote (which passed handily in the greater downtown area, hence the renewed focus on that segment for the reintroduction of streetcars).

    don’t forget that ultra-progressive seattle just opened there first light rail line last month. sometimes it just takes some cities a bit longer to get all the pieces in place.

  4. Ron McLinden August 30th, 2009 5:03 pm

    the city / kcata is asking for $6 million in the tiger package to do engineering, design, and “project development” work. in other words, to prepare for getting the project written into the next federal transportation authorization bill, and subsequently asking for federal construction money. right now, the project is simply not close to being ready to ask for construction funding.

  5. Ron McLinden August 30th, 2009 5:09 pm

    dave–

    you mention a tdd for funding. that’s been talked about as a possibility for a long time, but do do you know of any real work that’s being done toward that end?

    tif for transit ought to be another funding source to be used in combination with a tdd. it should take little more than a council resolution to implement it. dedicate all future (real estate) tax “increments” (above current collections) in the corridor (say, a half mile on either side of the route) to rail transit — except for increments associated with existing and future tif districts, of course.

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