9/11/2014 — 

PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to help spur economic development and smart growth in Providence and better connect neighborhoods to downtown, Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation today announced that the City of Providence is receiving a $13 million federal grant towards a proposed streetcar system between Upper South Providence and College Hill.  The U.S. Department of Transportation approved Providence’s competitive grant application for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, which means the federal government will pitch in and cover about 11 percent of the $117.8 million transportation project, should the city decide to move forward with its streetcar plan.

“There was a lot of competition for this round of TIGER grants and I commend Congressman Cicilline for his efforts and the City of Providence for putting together a strong application.  With federal funding now in hand, the city and its partners must build consensus for a cost-effective plan to secure the remainder of funds needed to build and operate this new system,” said Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.  “I will continue doing everything I can to help meet Rhode Island’s transportation priorities and ensure TIGER grant funding remains available.”

“After years of advocacy and hard work, I’m thrilled Providence will have the opportunity to move forward with its streetcar project.  This is great news that will mean jobs, business development, and a more walkable and livable Capital City for Rhode Islanders,” said Congressman David Cicilline, who, in 2006, as then-Mayor of Providence, formed the Transit 2020 Working Group which released the first proposal for a Providence Streetcar Project.  This past June, Congressman Cicilline also met with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to advocate for Providence’s grant request.

“I congratulate Mayor Taveras and the City of Providence on securing this funding toward its trolley project, and also Congressman Cicilline, who has been a strong and energetic advocate for public transportation in our Capital City,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Investments in our transportation infrastructure create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and boost our economy.  That’s why I’m committed to establishing additional funding opportunities for major infrastructure projects in our state.”

“A strong system of public transportation is an important element to making Providence a city that is accessible and attractive to residents, businesses and visitors,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “This streetcar proposal would open up new opportunities in the City of Providence, create jobs and make it easier for residents to access employment.  I applaud my colleague, Congressman David Cicilline, for his commitment to bringing this vision to fruition.”

“This TIGER grant is a first step forward toward making Providence’s streetcar proposal a reality,” said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. “The initial investment is recognition of the streetcar’s potential to boost economic development in Providence. I thank Congressman Cicilline and Rhode Island’s federal delegation for helping secure these funds for transportation in our Capital City.”

“Being awarded a TIGER grant for a proposed Providence streetcar line is another example of the many positive changes Rhode Island is making in transit infrastructure,” said RIPTA CEO Raymond Studley. “RIPTA is excited to see support for transit growing, whether it’s the ongoing renovations to Kennedy Plaza,  the upcoming bond referendum for  expansion of mass transit hub infrastructure, or a proposed streetcar. We will continue to work with our partners to advance a strong transit vision for Rhode Island.  We appreciate the continued strong support of the federal delegation for projects that expand Rhode Island’s transit network and spur economic development.”

This is the second year in a row Providence has applied for federal TIGER grant funds for the streetcar project.  During the last round of TIGER grant applications, the state received a $10 million TIGER grant for the Apponaug Circulator project in Warwick.  That project broke ground earlier this month and is designed to transform a congested and outdated urban circulator system into a more efficient, accessible, and sustainable facility.

Current plans call for a 2.5 mile streetcar circulator connecting downtown Providence, the Jewelry District, and Upper South Providence, with 12 stops and will take an estimated 15 minutes to complete one way. The city estimates the project could create 250 construction jobs and about 6,000 new jobs over the next 20 years once the system is complete.  City planners also project that building the street cars will help attract about 1,500 new city residents over the next two decades.

The TIGER grant program targets major national and regional transportation projects that are often difficult to pursue through other government funding programs.  Selected projects must foster job creation, show strong economic benefits, and promote communities that are safer, cleaner, and more livable.  U.S. DOT has now awarded more than $66 million in TIGER Grants to the Ocean State since 2010, including $22.3 million for Quonset/Port of Davisville; $10.5 million for ProvPort; $10 million for the Providence Viaduct; and $10 million for the Apponaug Circulator.

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