The U.S. Department of Transportation says that the amount of stimulus money requested for transportation projects in 2014 far exceeded what the department has to give.
Applications for the sixth round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program totaled $9.5 billion. That is 15 times more than the $600 million that has been allocated for grants.
The DOT received 797 applications — 36 percent more than officials received in 2013.
The TIGER program was launched in 2009, which is the same year Congress voted to bail out the auto industry. Funded granted by the program are generally used for road, rail, transit or port projects. As we explain in the Curbing Cars e-book, new streetcar systems have been a very visible benefactor of TIGER funding. Continue reading
By Micheline Maynard
The first thing I had to do on my first visit to Vienna was ride a streetcar. They traverse many parts of the city, but they’re especially visible on the Ringstrasse, the semi-circular route around the historic part of the city.
Sitting on a streetcar, you pass all the major sights of Vienna, from palaces to parks, the Vienna State Opera to the university and City Hall. You also can take many types of streetcars, from the old fashioned step-up Duwag trams, to sleek quiet new cars that are flush with the ground.
I met many interesting people on the streetcars — students, musicians, and older ladies who chatted with me in an effort to practice their English. But, mainly, I looked out the window and enjoyed the elegant and mysterious city.
We’re making video a regular feature of Curbing Cars. If you have video of your city’s transit system, please share it with us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our latest student-written story comes from John Owens, a political science student at Tulane University in New Orleans.
By John Owens
Streetcars are as much a part of New Orleans as beignets, Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Saints. Rolling down the most well-known streets in the city, the unmistakable whir of their electric power and sound of the old-fashioned suspension fills the air for blocks around. The wooden seats hark back to a time when craftsmanship ruled over mass-production. Streetcars are an institution here.
Recently, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has poured millions into revitalizing the aging rails that underpin the system. It tore up track bit by bit, starting before the 2013 Super Bowl and continuing through now. It is the kind of investment that implies a commitment to a long future with the streetcar in New Orleans.
In the run up to the Super Bowl, the RTA even added a 2.8 mile spur with 13 stops. It took less than a year to complete, an unusually quick project by New Orleans standards.
With streetcars running down more streets and on better tracks, it begs the question: are streetcars a viable transit solution, a tourist attraction or both? Continue reading
Did you know New York City once had streetcars? Now, other cities are getting them.
By Micheline Maynard
I am a streetcar geek. I’m pretty sure my love of streetcars stems from my first visit to Boston, when I was seven. We stayed a bit away from downtown, and to my delight, the T ran above ground right near the apartment hotel my dad booked for us.
Not long after, I discovered the streetcars in Toronto and from then on, I was a certified streetcar fanatic. I make it a point to ride the streetcar in any city I visit that has them. I’ve learned to navigate driving across streetcar tracks, just as these cyclists in Zurich manage to maneuver around the tracks there.
So I was delighted to learn that streetcars are making a comeback.
Minneapolis is the latest place where local officials have approved a streetcar project. It joins at least a dozen cities that are launching new streetcar lines, or expanding lines already in place. They include Atlanta, Tucson, New Orleans and Los Angeles, where streetcars will return after more than half a century away. Continue reading