At the Department of Transportation and across the country, people are still plenty excited about the innovative TIGER II awards we announced last week. And Wednesday, I went to Salt Lake City, Utah, to officially announce a $26 million TIGER II grant for the Sugar House streetcar line.
Now, a century ago, streetcars were a common sight in cities across America. But by the 1960s, most communities had phased them out--to the great detriment of neighborhoods and downtowns. Today, streetcars are coming back. And they’re reviving some of the very same neighborhoods they once helped create.
Salt Lake City will be at the forefront of America's streetcar renaissance.
When completed, the Sugar House line is expected to remove 800 cars per day from the local street network, reducing congestion and accidents along the 2100 South corridor.
In addition to linking riders to transit beyond the corridor--via UTA's TRAX--the line will also feature bus, pedestrian, and bicycle connections. Area residents have supported a growing transit network through ridership and countywide votes in favor of transit.
It will also foster new mixed-use development on vacant and under utilized land along the developing corridor in the rapidly growing Salt Lake City region.
Our TIGER II grants support critical projects that deserve federal funding but otherwise wouldn’t receive it. The 75 winning projects, including Salt Lake City’s streetcar system, are innovative problem-solvers--which is why they were selected from more than 1,000 applications requesting $19 billion.
Some TIGER II awards will boost urban circulator buses, bicycle lanes, and multimodal transportation stations. Other TIGER II are more traditional projects that just don’t fit neatly into old formulas--for example, bridge construction and freight movement.
But each grant rewards true excellence, effective partnerships, and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars--as is certainly the case with Salt Lake City's Sugar House streetcar line.