Cincinnati submits $56.8M TIGER III application to fund modern streetcar extension

Local governments across the United States are in the process of competing for $527 million worth of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) III funds. The deadline for applications was October 31, and the City of Cincinnati once again has applied for funds.

Cincinnati’s TIGER III application requests $56.8 million for phase one of the Cincinnati Streetcar. City officials say that the money will go to immediately restore the project’s segments that were eliminated following Governor Kasish’s (R) controversial reallocation of $52 million in early 2011.

“These funds would be used to restore the critical Riverfront Loop and Uptown Connector components that were removed from the original phase one,” said Department of Transportation & Engineering (DOTE) planner Melissa McVay.

Rendering of a modern streetcar heading north along Main Street towards Uptown [LEFT]. Rendering of a modern streetcar in front of Great American Ball Park along the riverfront [RIGHT].

The two segments city officials hope to restore are estimated to cost $56.8 million – exactly matching the City’s TIGER III request. Planners say that the dollar amounts include construction, utilities, two trains, project administration, contingency, and the remaining design elements.

The prospects for winning the TIGER III funding appear much brighter following the defeat of Issue 48. The Charter amendment would have banned the City from making any investments in rail transportation for the next decade, and many feared would have been the proverbial nail in the coffin for the Cincinnati Streetcar. Instead, Issue 48 was defeated and a super-majority of streetcar supporters was elected to City Council.

“Should the city win this federal grant, the Cincinnati Streetcar will not only benefit the thousands of residents, and tens of thousands of workers on its current route, but also connect the approximately 40,000 students at UC with the growing number of entertainment destinations along the riverfront,” explained Brad Thomas, Founder, CincyStreetcar Blog.

The City of Cincinnati was unsuccessful with two previous TIGER applications in 2009 and 2010. TIGER III grant winners are expected to be announced by the end of 2011.

  • Rob Jaques


  • Schmiez

    I wonder how much it helps (hurts) that the plan is pretty much the same one funded before Kasich zapped it. I would think it helps.

    Took a quick peak at the other funded projects. Not many in the Midwest near the $52M mark, but Atlanta has one similar at $46M. Many of the others are replacing bridges, building roads, etc… The alternative transportation basis cant hurt either.

    A great deal of the naysayers (active or passive) were against the project after it dropped the banks and university connection. I would suspect this brings it back into very positive light (if awarded).

  • Aaron Watkins

    Fantastic News! When can we expect to know if this funding is awarded?

  • @Aaron Watkins: The US DOT has accelerated the award process and, I believe, intends on announcing winners by the end of the year. Thanks for asking the question…I meant to clarify that in the story, and have since gone back in and added the information.

  • The Tiger Grant webpage says
    “FY2011 TIGER program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area or a region.”
    “Livability: Fostering livable communities through place-based policies and investments that increase transportation choices and access to transportation services for people in communities across the United States.”
    Based on that I’d say the Cincy Streetcar has a good chance of winning a grant since its already shovel ready.


    We will NOT give up. We will defeat this project

  • Travis

    COAST — The voters have spoken, twice, and they would like you to stop trying to amend our city’s charter with your anti-rail nonsense.

  • Matt Jacob

    Great news that there is still a source of funding out there and that the city is going after it aggressively. Expanding the scope of the route back to what it was originally intended to do (link Uptown and Downtown) will help ensure that the project has the best chance at success.

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    Randy, nice job scooping the entire Cincinnati media with this story.

  • Great news! We have to start investing **now** in transit options before future events (more resource shortage, the aging boomers) cause the city to be in much more financial trouble.

  • Robert

    ^ I second Jake’s remark, Randy! Nice job! Waiting for The Enquirer to feature this–i.e.,in the “Local” section, p.5.


    It won’t happen. Even the Feds realize this project is a boondoggle. They’ve already rejected them twice and will do so again. Even if by some miracle they do grant the money, we will fight it with everything we have.

    Taxpayers will not be on the loop for decades paying the feds back for the Mayor’s Folly

  • Nathan Strieter

    You are right COAST it will take me decades to pay back the $0.16 this project costs.

  • CincyCapell

    Dear Mark Miller & COAST,

    You have already ‘fought the Streetcar with everything you have’. And you lost. Twice.

    Elections have consequences, so eat it.

  • Aaron Watkins

    If COASTS idea of fighting the streetcar is more bogus and frivolous lawsuits, then it just goes to show that they don’t care about the taxpayers, but simply further vocalizing their ridiculous campaign of idiocy.

  • Schmiez

    “Taxpayers will not be on the loop for decades paying the feds back for the Mayor’s Folly”

    You must sleep well given the numerous bikepaths and bridge replacements TIGER funds are fixing across the US, yet view the streetcar as a b… nevermind.

    If COAST fought illiteracy or pollution with the same fervor, Cincy would be the smartest cleanest town in the midwest…

  • @COAST: The federal government does in fact support this project and finds it to be one of the best transit proposals in the nation. This is why the federal government awarded the Cincinnati Streetcar the maximum $25 million grant through the Urban Circulator program.

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    The Enquirer’s version of this story is now on the front page of Look for a print story tomorrow and another round of crap from talk radio.

  • We will fight this boondoggle with every fiber of our beings. COAST will file the mother of all lawsuits and ballot initiatives to stop any further funding of Mallory’s Folley Trolley. The fight has only just begun, and we will not loose the next time!

  • Why continue to waste the taxpayer’s money with frivilous lawsuits?

    The voters have already voted TWICE in favor of the Cincinnati Streetcar, and elected a super-majority onto City Council that support the project.

    The project is not increasing taxes, it is fully funded, the system has more than enough money identified to cover its operational costs, and it will put Cincinnatians to work. What exactly is the problem?

  • NO! We will fight Mallory’s Folley Trolley until out last dying breath!! The Trolley will happen over our dead bodies!!!!!

  • Eastside Cincy

    @COAST, I prescribe you chill pills, and you should take them twice a day with water, before your first meal.

    I don’t know what your problem is regarding the streetcar. Cincy is a dieing city (approximately 333,000 in 2000 to approximately 280,000 in 2010). Crime rates are among the highest in the nation, nearly everything in Downtown Cincy closes at 2pm–plus there are hardly any shops for people to spend their money. Street cars (it bears repeating) are fixed on the street unlike the almighty METRO (which is disgusting, never on time, and changes routes like I change underwear), so businesses are more likely to set up shop. Look at the billions in revenue northwest cities have raked in from their streetcar and light rails. The greatest cities in our country have some form of rail transit–people don’t go to NYC to ride the buses my friend. Come one, get your ideology out of the 17th century and wake up to today, and what young professionals want in our city.

    Your common sense and logical thinking cards have been revoked. Thank you and a have a great day.


  • Emily Schneider

    Randy, awesome job on your big story! Way to go!

  • hey, this story got picked up by the Cincinnati Monocle!



  • Matthew Hall

    I warned that the COASTers wouldn’t stop and that they might do anything to keep their tribal warfare going. I’m amazed that anyone who knows Cincinnati could think otherwise. Running defense against them will be necessary until the day they die, maybe longer. cincinnatians for progress needs to stay together keep them in check and to support the new more progressive members on council.

  • Jenny K

    We at UrbanCincy would kindly like to remind our readers: please, don’t feed the trolls.

  • Robert

    We don’t have to feed them, Jenny–but like Matthew Hall already warned, we need to keep a close eye on them. They’re NOT merely our “little, troublesome play pals.”


    The complaint from the sore winners at C4P was tossed out AGAIN. Obviously they realize everything we tweeted is complete truth. The trolly folly is taking funds away from the police and fire stations. They are browning out because of this choo choo.

  • Aaron Watkins

    Hey! We don’t take too kindly to yerrr type ’round these here parts!

  • Schmiez

    I’ve yet to see the Police budget cut to fund the streetcar. Not 1 time.

  • Of course Chris Finney and COAST are going to file “the mother of all lawsuits.” Sometimes I wonder if they’re really that concerned about the streetcar, or just finding easy ways to make money through the court system.

    I hope they watch their steps, though. One of these days they’re going to get caught for perjury, and end up in jail.

  • Matthew Hall

    Until they are caught, they will fight in every way they can. Their making money from lawsuits is totally justified in their eyes. It is the equivalent of a cult setting up a business to fund it true mission of attracting as many converts as possible. It is a means to their end of ‘reclaiming’ cincinnati for “their” people or destroying it so no one can have it if they can’t. I’ve listened to them on several occassion under various guises. Without COAST they would struggle to find a reason to keep living. They will consider anything because in their mind they have nothing to lose. You have been warned.


    Police budgets HAVE suffered due to the Folley Trolley!! They’ve only increased 30% in the last 4 years, it needs to be MORE to hire enough officers to fight off the drug dealer trolley conductors Mallory’s Mafia wants!! Police and fire are ONLY 70% of the budget! Safety needs to be #1!! Cut all health centers and pools to fund MORE safety- This Folley Trolley will only increase crime by moving drug dealers around town faster! We shall prevail!!!!

  • Anonymous

    ^Is this sarcastic? It sure sounds like it.

  • Matthew Hall

    ^ see my post above for an explanation of COAST’s behavior.

  • Joe

    That is a parody poster and not Coast, you are wasting your time debating a troll who is most likely a streetcar supporter.

  • Anonymous


  • Matthew Hall

    Its not a waste of time.There are plenty of the real COASTers around. They may have been subdued temporarily, but they’ll try to undermine cincinnati every way they can.

  • Robert

    ^Agree, Matthew–just keep an eye on who coasts in & out of of Chris Smitherman’s new office and you’ll always know where at least a few of them are…