The federal Department of Transportation announced $500 million in new spending, some of which is destined for streetcar projects, bike routes, and rest stop powered by the sun. Announced on October 29, thirty-nine projects were awarded grants through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. DOT funding for streetcar projects is reaching $29.2 million, which includes $15 million to double a 1.6-mile streetcar route in Tacoma, Washington State.
One grant will provide $15 million in Los Angeles to convert a retired six-mile railroad route into “an inviting corridor safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.” Phoenix will receive more than $10.3 million to build eight miles of “canal trail and street crossings for bicycling and walking.” In tropical Hawaii, taxpayers will ante up $13.8 million for a bicycle boulevard. Of the Hawaii project, DOT stated, “This TIGER grant will provide funding to improve bicycling, walking, and general transit conditions for pedestrians and motorists in downtown Līhu’e.” In a statement, DOT said, “Additionally, Rice Street, Ho’olako Street, and Pua’ole/Malae will undergo improvements to enhance the overall user experience including the addition of new sidewalks, the creation of a shared use path for bicyclists and pedestrians, and the conversion of an existing street into a bicycle boulevard.”
The Big Apple will also get its share. The final portion of a 23-mile pedestrian and bicycle trail along the Bronx River will get an additional mile of pedestrian and bicycle trails with two bridges at a cost of $10 million. “The project is the final portion of the Bronx River Greenway, a 23-mile pedestrian and bicycle trail along the full length of the Bronx River, and will establish safe and continuous off-street travel and create neighborhood access to the Greenway for Bronx residents and workers,” the DOT statement said.
Native Americans were not left out. The Pueblo nation of Laguna, New Mexico, are getting $1 million to complete a network of bicycle and pedestrian routes.
Nor was the solar energy industry abandoned. TIGER is giving away $9 million for a solar-powered rest stop in Rhode Island that comes under the rubric of “supporting innovation” category. Bicycle parking is included. “The project includes a welcome center with restrooms, food, convenience shops, bike amenities, and tourism information for Rhode Island destinations and beyond; a park and ride facility; an intercity bus hub; fueling stations including alternative fuels and electric vehicle stations; and bicycle parking,” DOT said. “In addition, the project includes installation of electric vehicle charging stations and solar panels on the welcome center building, as well as bicycle parking, which will enhance environmental sustainability.”
DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said of the announcement, “transportation is always about the future” when announcing the grants. “In this round of TIGER, we selected projects that focus on where the country’s transportation infrastructure needs to be in the future; ever safer, ever more innovative, and ever more targeted to open the floodgates of opportunity across America.” he said.
But one locale that lost out is Cincinnati, which has been hoping to direct I-75 freeway access to the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. The October 29 DOT announcement did not include the $33 million the city requested from the TIGER grant program, even though the Ohio metropolis had pledged to come up with $8 million itself. The Elmore Street bridge project was not found on the list of 39 such projects that stemmed from the 627 grant applications DOT received: $10 billion in requested funds. The city will have to find the funds elsewhere; the state of Ohio has pledged to come up with half of the funding.
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