Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fed funds sought for Providence streetcar plan

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Providence, R.I., officials seek $39 million in federal TIGER funding to help advance a $114.4 million streetcar plan to serve Rhode Island's capital.

"The Providence Streetcar is inherently linked to our vision for growth," Mayor Angel Taveras wrote in a May 31 proposal to outgoing U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, according to local media.

"The relocation of I-195 has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine the physical landscape of our downtown and position our city for sustained leadership in the knowledge economy," Taveras added.

The proposed 2.1-mile line would link upper South Providence neighborhood near Rhode Island Hospital with College Hill on the city's East Side. Initial projections call for the line to begin revenue service in 2017.

Besides TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funding, a mix of city and state sources, along with $5.25 million from the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), would be used to cover capital construction.

RIPTA formally approved its own role in the plan last April. RIPTA and city planners formally proposed the streetcar project in September 2011.