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Ray LaHood Announces Money for Transit Projects

December 2nd, 2009

Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, announced $280 MM in federal money will be made available for street cars and public transportation projects.

BECKY BOHRER (AP) NEW ORLEANS — The federal government is making available $280 million for street cars and other public transportation projects aimed at creating jobs and more walkable, environmentally friendly communities.
(Will Rochester see a dime?)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement Tuesday at a streetcar barn in New Orleans. The city, which has been trying to overhaul its public transit system since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was LaHood’s first stop on a listening tour on federal transportation policy.

The last transportation spending bill expired in September. While President Barack Obama’s administration has sought a reprieve into 2011, given the federal stimulus package that passed earlier this year and was aimed largely at public works projects, Congress hasn’t agreed to an extension past mid-December.

LaHood said there’s a “pent up demand” for infrastructure work around the country… but that it would cost up to $500 billion to do all of it. He said the administration supports a “robust” transportation bill but wants to see projects that encourage innovation, reduce carbon emissions and help to improve quality of life in communities, urban and rural. The new round of grants, expected to be awarded on a competitive basis next year, is in line with those priorities.

New Orleans hopes to make a case for grants and other federal dollars. Mayor Ray Nagin called public transportation — from biodiesel buses being put into service to hoped-for streetcar line expansions and the addition of bike paths to help spark neighborhood revitalization — important to the city’s overall recovery efforts.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Will Rochester See a Dime?

At this point it’s too early to say if Rochester will receive any of these funds or if we’ll be passed over for larger cities. But we’re working to find answers. Follow us on Twitter external link or Subscribe to RochesterSubway.com to stay in the loop.

How You Can Help

Contact your State representatives and Rochester officials. Tell them you want to see Rochester get its fair share of this transit money. Send them a link to this page and let them know what you’d like to see in Rochester (i.e. a streetcar line, bike lanes, whatever). Ask them to lobby hard for this money. Tell your family and friends to please do the same. Please contact:
Louis Slaughter, Congresswoman
Charles Schumer, Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator
Patrick Duffy, Mayor
Gladys Santiago, City Council
David Paterson, Governor

These guys work for you. Hold them to it.

Where Did Rochester’s Streetcars Go?

Close-up of the postcard. The Four Corners from the WWI era. Circa 1912-ish.
Rochester, NY has a storied transit history and at one time had one of the most extensive streetcar systems in the world. In 1893, the first 12-way rail crossing in the world was built at the Four Corners intersection (shown above). Known as the ‘Grand Union’ it connected the Rochester & Sodus Bay and Rochester & Eastern Interurbans. Thirty years later the Rochester Subway would be built to connect five different railroads and interurban lines (read more Rochester Subway history). The loss of streetcars and railroads was not unique to Rochester. From the 1930’s thru the 50’s, streetcar systems across America were systematically dismantled and replaced with buses. Here’s an interesting article on the Great American Streetcar Scandal… external link

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 at 10:15 pm and is filed under Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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