Baton Rouge — TIGER Grant Awarded
Baton Roughe, the Louisiana state capital, is considering a streetcar line to connect downtown to the Louisiana State University campus and leaders from Tucson, AZ, where Sun Link modern streetcar opened July 25, 2014, provided reasons that Baton Rouge should consider, The Advocate reported on April 22, 2015: "For the past year or so, Baton Rouge leaders have prioritized a proposed 3.1-mile trolley line that would run down Nicholson Drive, connecting LSU and downtown Baton Rouge. The estimated cost for the project is $100 million that leaders have said would be funded by a mix of private and federal funding."
Backers hope that the line would revitalize and attract businesses to the corridor connecting the two terminal areas, increasing the rate of change downtown, which is already undergoing a renaissance.
Tucson’s modern streetcar, which part of a $2.1 billion transportation tax plan approved by voters in 2006, was completed in 2014. Before the trolley even opened for business, the private sector invested $380 million, developing the corridor and downtown in a period of 48 months, said Michael Keith, the Downtown Tucson CEO.
A further $162 million in private investment is in development, including retail and residential developments. Private investments generated by the streetcar have created some 3,000 jobs and 2,500 additional student housing units, Keith said.
Daily ridership is now around 4,000 passengers and continues to grow.
Meanwhile, Baton Rouge leaders have secured a $1.8 million federal grant. The city-parish also provided another $1 million from traffic impact fees. The money is being used to fund an environmental impact study and engineering.