Providence, RI — Project Cancelled
The Providence Journal reported on January 6 that Providence Planning Director Bonnie Nickerson confirmed that plans for a streetcar line had been dropped due to concerns about funding and the route's ability to attract riders. An "enhanced bus" along the same route officials say would cost about one-fifth as much as the streetcar.
Current Mayor Jorge Elorza indicated recently that the streetcar was not high on his list of priorities, and state officials, who would have had to provide some of the funding, were not supporters either.
The city hopes to retain the $13 million committed to the streetcar project by the Federal Transit Administration in order to fund the bus. In fact, the "enhanced bus" project was conceived to retain the federal funding. It is not clear the FTA will agree to the change in transportation mode.
To make it an "enhanced bus" the idea is to acquire low emission buses, different from those used elsewhere in the city, and to give them the same traffic light priority planned for the streetcar. However, the buses would not get dedicated lanes.