The U.S. Department of Transportation received more than 4,000 applications from every state and the District of Columbia for transportation projects around the US. The Peach State requested a total of nearly $1.7 billion. The problem? The total funds requested from around the US was 40 times more than were available. The federal agency received more than 30 applications from Georgia, but the Peach State was one of 13 states and territories not to receive any funding. Sorry folks, that means the Peachtree Streetcar didn’t make the cut.
The city’s $298 million bid for the proposed Peachtree Streetcar was not among the more than 50 TIGER grant recipients announced todayby the U.S. Department of Transportation. The cash, part of President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus program, will fund a variety of transportation projects across the country.
There were high hopes that federal officials would award funding to the shovel-ready project, which envisions a streetcar line running along Peachtree from Five Points to Midtown and an east-west line connecting Centennial Olympic Park and the King Center.
Downtown and Midtown business boosters were on board and key to getting the project past the brainstorming stages. Mayor Kasim Reed recently told Maria Saporta the city’s application even received a nod of approval from Federal Transit Administration Region IV Director Yvette Taylor.
Georgia is a “red” state at the moment, with Senators and Reps that opposed the stimulus. So, maybe Obama and the Democrats wanted to keep funds out of the hands of Republicans, right? Not necessarily. The streetcar project would have helped an urban area represented by Democrat John Lewis, but was still shown no love by the Obama administration. I’ll leave Obama’s reasoning up for debate. For now what we do know is that Georgia is left to look for an alternative to funding the streetcar.
H/T Creative Loafing’s Thomas Wheatley