Metro Magazine

AUG 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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27 AUGUST 2014 m ETRO m AGAZINE > Despite record levels of funding, demand for rail transit investment continues to outstrip available funding. Here is how several cities are fnding ways to fll the gap. BY CLIFF HENKE Rail Projects Find Ways to Cope with Scarce Federal Dollars It's been an ongoing story for years. Federal funding continues to set new records in funding for public transportation investment, yet demand grows even faster. Poll after poll suggests ever yone it seems — except for a significant number of members of Congress — believes that this investment is key to sustainable economic growth and U.S. competitive- ness in an increasingly globalizing economic race. This does not even mention how well high-quality public transportation can help address far bigger challenges, such as climate change, or far smaller ones, such as growing good middle-class jobs. Fortunately, however, a growing number of cities are finding ways to cope with the relative scarcity of federal funds. The rest of this space will showcase examples of this fiscal creativity, one for each mode of rail transportation. This is not to say they are going it without federal money entirely. There have been examples of such projects, to be sure: Los Angeles' Gold Line and New Jersey's River Line, to name just two. Rather, today's projects are using creative financing, alternative methods of project delivery and expanded federal loan programs to knit together the funding pack- age. Not one of these projects is identical to any oth- er, except that the menu of options is familiar to all. In most cases, these cities initially asked for big- ger federal stakes, but yet asking the feds for a far lower share of total funding than the statutory max- imum or even the historic norm. Not merely point- ing to "what ought to be," only to be stymied by the exasperating realities in D.C., they have moved on to "what can and will be," and in so moving, they in- vite other cities to get onboard as well. Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

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