"This is fantastic news for families and businesses in Kansas City," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said. "This streetcar project will encourage housing, construction and business development in the city and that will mean more jobs across the region."
"This is a huge step forward in the continued renaissance of Kansas City," said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. "I'm extremely grateful to our federal delegation for their advocacy on behalf of the city. This announcement shows that good things happen when elected officials take a collaborative approach to addressing needs and solving problems."
Current plans call for a two-mile streetcar line from the River Market area to the Crown Center/Union Station area, largely utilizing the Main Street corridor. The streetcar line will also serve the Central Business District, the Crossroads Arts District and the Kansas City Power & Light District. The line is projected to be operational by summer 2015. The TIGER grant will fund approximately 20 percent of the project.
Additionally, Sound Transit will receive two TIGER grants totaling $24 million. The grants, secured in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), will help add new HOV lanes across Lake Washington on I-90 and replace the Tacoma trestle bridge that Sounder and Amtrak trains rely on in downtown Tacoma.
In preparation for extending Link light-rail service across I-90 to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond's Overlake area, Sound Transit and WSDOT are working together to complete the third and final phase of adding new HOV lanes in both directions to the existing bridges. The new lanes will establish 24-hour HOV capacity in both directions, where today's reversible lanes only serve westbound vehicles in the morning and eastbound vehicles at night. The project will maintain the current number of general purpose and HOV lanes when the I-90 center lanes are closed in fall 2016 for the construction of light rail.
A total of $10 million in funding was also for replacement of the Tacoma Trestle Bridge, a timber bridge built in Tacoma in the early 20th Century. The replacement project will improve reliability by allowing for two main tracks in an area of Tacoma where Sounder, Amtrak and freight trains all share the same track. The project is anticipated to enter construction in late 2015 and open in 2017.
The project, located just off South 25th Street, will eliminate a bottleneck along a 0.65-mile section from Tacoma Dome Station to East M Street in Tacoma. While there are two tracks on each side of the century-old structure, its single track requires trains to be held frequently, causing congestion and delay.
The replacement project is part of a set of coordinated investments made by WSDOT, Sound Transit, Tacoma Rail, BNSF, Amtrak, the federal government and other partners that have invested more than $1 billion into passenger rail facilities in the Pacific Northwest rail corridor.