Too bad the state and city governments are not able to coordinate their efforts better when applying for federal grants.
Rhode Island has received four Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, awards since its first one in 2010, but never more than one in a single funding round. The most recent was last year’s $10 million grant, designed to help create the Apponaug Circulator in Warwick.
That application was made in addition to a proposal by the city of Providence to help it build a streetcar, the kind of project many think will stimulate more development in the state’s urban core.
This year Providence is once again asking for money for the streetcar project, but the state has added its own request for funds to help it improve on its reconstruction of the Providence Viaduct, the Interstate 195 bridge through downtown. Of the two requests, this one should get the priority. But it didn’t have to be this way.
The state should have asked for the Viaduct funding last year over the Apponaug project, which does not have the economic development potential of the streetcar.
That approach would allow the city and state to plan a coordinated application, one that makes sure the streetcar plan is sustainable. •
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