Streetcar Loop Funding Lurches Forward

This week has been all about locking down the local match for the Streetcar Loop project. A deadline looms on September 7th to get the necessary info to the FTA to get a $75M Federal grant into the President’s next budget, so a number of things happened this week on the way to September 6th City Council vote on all the necessary funding commitments for about $72M in local match:

  • A briefing before Portland Development Commission, which appears to have been trying to ignore the fact that this project exists even though Sam Adams testified before them almost 2 years ago that he was asking them for $31M in TIF.
  • A briefing before City Council in which it appeared pretty clear that City Council would commit $27M in TIF whether PDC wanted to our not.
  • First reading on the formation of an LID that will contribute $15M to the project

It’s not surprising that this process is a little rougher than past projects. It took us from 1997 to 2007 to assemble the $100M that built the existing alignment. Now we’re trying to put together about 3/4s of that amount in a much shorter timeline. Under normal circumstances we probably would have taken another year to do it, but we’re rushing to meet what is essentially a gold-plated invitation from the FTA to be the first Streetcar project funded under the Small Starts program.

I haven’t written much about it here, because I’ve been spending a lot of time on Amanda Fritz’ blog clarifying what this project is and isn’t about and where the money is coming from. You can check out that conversation here and here.

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