Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Federal Funding

Bids for Federal Streetcar Aid Top Available Money by Nearly Tenfold

After announcing $130 million in new streetcar grants in December, the Obama administration received more than $1.1 billion in applications, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) chief Peter Rogoff told lawmakers today -- offering more evidence of the growing local enthusiasm for competitive transportation funding that began with the stimulus law's TIGER grant program.

large_streetcar.red.JPGNew Orleans, above, is one of more than 65 cities seeking federal grants for its streetcar. (Photo: Times-Picayune)

Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee, Rogoff said the winners of the streetcar grants as well as a corresponding bus funding program would be named in June. The bus grants, totaling $150 million, were even more popular than the streetcar funding, with more than $2 billion worth of applications submitted to the FTA.

Rogoff, a veteran congressional aide before his nomination to the FTA, described the streetcar and bus programs as elements of the administration's broader plan to promote transit-oriented development and sustainable transportation under the "livable communities" aegis.

The FTA, he said, will keep pursuing "more integrated regional planning to guide state, metropolitan and
local decisions that link land use, transportation and housing policy," with a special emphasis on making the most of increasingly scarce federal funds.

The stimulus law's $1.5 billion TIGER program (short for Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) was even more oversubscribed than the streetcar or bus grants, with more than $57 billion in bids pouring in. The grants were so in-demand that several Republicans took political flak for supporting local applications after criticizing the stimulus law as a whole, and Democrats from states that came up short were not shy about airing their frustrations.

The significant demand for streetcar and bus funds, coming on the heels of TIGER's success, could bolster the U.S. DOT's case for more merit-based grant programs that disburse aid on the basis of environmental and economic metrics rather than state-based formulas. The White House already has signaled that it supports an expansion of the TIGER program beyond the $600 million in extra grants approved during last year's appropriations process.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Brooklyn Civic Panel Can’t Agree How to Solve NYPD Sidewalk Parking

Move the illegal sidewalk parking or denounce it altogether?

April 17, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines: Bike Lane Delay Edition

Remember the proposed sidewalk bike lane on Ocean Avenue? So do we. Plus other news in today's media digest.

April 17, 2024

Landmarks Officials OK Delivery Worker Hub Outside City Hall

The sleek new delivery hub and charging station will replace a 1980s-era newsstand that's sat empty since the pandemic.

April 17, 2024

Update: Driver Charged After Killing 10-Year-Old Girl Near South Williamsburg Playground

The 62-year-old driver struck and killed the youngster at the intersection of Wallabout Street and Wythe Avenue.

April 16, 2024

Car Crashes by City Workers Cost Taxpayers $180M in Payouts Last Year: Report

A record number of victims of crashes involving city employees in city-owned cars filed claims in fiscal year 2023 — and settlements with victims have jumped 23 percent, a new report shows.

April 16, 2024
See all posts