WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following projects will receive funding thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program: Woodward Avenue Light-Rail project in Detroit; Union Passenger Terminal/Loyola Loop Streetcar project in New Orleans; Modern Streetcar project in Tucson, Ariz.; Downtown Dallas Streetcar project; and Reconstruction of Moody Avenue in Portland, Ore.
Woodward Avenue Light-Rail project
The proposed Woodward Avenue Light Rail project in Detroit is being made possible thanks to a signed grant agreement between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the city of Detroit, and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The project received $25 million in TIGER funds.
In August 2010, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff visited Detroit to announce that an initial 3.4-mile, 12-station light rail line had been selected to receive the funds.
“Building this light-rail system will create jobs for this great American city, and it will stimulate long-term economic growth by attracting investment to downtown Detroit and the New Center area,” LaHood said.
The initial phase of the light rail line would connect downtown Detroit to Grand Boulevard in the New Center district along the region’s main travel artery via Woodward Avenue. A second planned phase would extend the light-rail line approximately 5.9 miles from Grand Boulevard to Eight-Mile Road near the state fairgrounds, for a total of 9.3 miles. The FTA currently is completing an environmental impact statement for both phases of the project.
In December 2008, the Michigan legislature passed a bill to allow a private/non-profit entity to plan, build, operate and maintain rail service in the Detroit region. In early 2009, the Detroit Department of Transportation announced that it would join forces with M1 Rail, a consortium of local businesses, to implement light rail on Woodward Avenue.
Union Passenger Terminal/Loyola Loop Streetcar project
Progress continues on the Union Passenger Terminal/Loyola Loop Streetcar project in New Orleans thanks to a signed grant agreement between the FTA and the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority. The project received $45 million from the TIGER program.
“This Recovery Act money means more jobs for workers in New Orleans, and greater access to the central business district, where the jobs are,” LaHood said. “And for those traveling outside the city, it will provide a seamless link to Amtrak trains, as well.”
The terminal is a major southern hub for Amtrak, with three trains serving the station. LaHood and Rogoff visited New Orleans just more than a year ago to announce $280 million the Obama administration made available for streetcars and other urban circulator projects.
The Union Passenger Terminal/Loyola Loop Streetcar will run through New Orleans’ central business district along Loyola Avenue from the Union Passenger Terminal to Canal Street. The Loyola Avenue corridor is home to significant commercial and business activity, including the city’s energy, government, health care, financial, and entertainment sectors.
Modern Streetcar project
Tucson’s Modern Streetcar project received a boost from a signed grant agreement between the FTA and the city of Tucson. The project received $63 million from the TIGER program.
The 3.9-mile modern streetcar line will connect the city’s major activity centers, including the Arizona Health Sciences Center, the University of Arizona main campus, downtown Tucson, the El Rio Community Health Center, and other retail and business developments. The TIGER grant will help to fund construction of stations, stops, terminals, tracks, and support facilities, as well as the purchase of streetcar vehicles and land.
Downtown Dallas Streetcar project
The Downtown Dallas Streetcar project is a step closer to reality as the result of a grant agreement signed by the FTA and the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The project received $23 million from the TIGER program.
The Downtown Dallas Streetcar will run along Main Street through the largest job center in the North Texas area with a stop at Union Station, providing access to Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART) light rail service, and to the Trinity Railway Express between Dallas and Fort Worth.
The streetcar route also includes stops at the Dallas Convention Center and Hotel, Trinity River Park, Methodist Medical Center, the Oak Cliff Gateway area, and many residential areas.
Reconstruction of Moody Avenue
Reconstruction of Moody Avenue in the South Waterfront area of Portland, Ore., will soon begin thanks to a grant agreement between the city of Portland and the FTA. The project received $23.2 million from the TIGER program.
The Recovery Act money will help widen the street and add dual streetcar tracks and three automobile traffic lanes. The street also will be elevated 14 feet to link with a transit bridge currently under construction. The bridge will accommodate streetcar, light rail, bus, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic.
“This innovative transit project will not only create jobs and streamline transportation on Southwest Moody Avenue, but it will also transform an area that was once deemed an environmental hazard into an engine of economic growth,” Rogoff said.
Raising the street will allow surrounding land, which had been designated a Superfund cleanup site by the Environmental Protection Agency, to be developed without degrading the site further. When complete, the South Waterfront district is projected to house 5,000 residents and employ 10,000 people.