Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cincinnati eyes TIGER funds for streetcar

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Supporters of Cincinnati’s streetcar proposal, coming off an Election Day victory fending off the proposal’s opponents, reportedly now hope to obtain $56 million in federal funds to restore the full original scope of the project.

Cincinnati has tried and failed to capture federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funding in the past, falling short in part because the city itself had not committed to a share of overall costs.

The supporters note the funds would replace a comparable $52 million in state funding withdrawn by Ohio Gov. John Kasich earlier this year. Kasich, who opposes the project, withdrew state funds already approved for streetcar capital construction.

Should the city succeed in capturing replacement funding, it would expand the plan to once again include Uptown, including the University of Cincinnati and nearby hospitals. Since design work for the full length of the line was in progress when the state withdrew its funding share, “we feel like the project's got a lot of appeal from a project readiness standpoint,” according to Chris Eilerman, project manager. “It would be great for us.”