June 2012

2012 Top Rail Projects Survey

by Alex Roman, Managing Editor

For the third consecutive year, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) tops METRO’s Top Rail Projects survey with a projected $14 billion in total projects. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s New York City Transit continues to hold the second spot with a projected $9.4 billion in projects.

As has been the recent trend, Canadian projects continue to make a huge impact in the industry with four transit agencies, totaling approximately $19 billion appearing in the top 20.

Rounding out the top five are Denver’s Regional Transportation District with $78 billion; the City & County of Honolulu DOT Services’ Rapid Transit Division with $5.3 billion and Seattle’s Sound Transit with $4.3 billion in total rail projects.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation, with $2.5 billion in total projects, rounds out this year’s top 10.   

Overall, this year’s approximate $83 billion project purse ties the total reported in 2011, representing a slight decrease from 2010 when agencies were using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds.

New additions
There are three new additions to METRO’s top rail listings, all of which are streetcar projects — Washington, D.C.’s District Department of Transportation, or DCDOT, (No. 34); Cincinnati’s Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (No. 41); and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (No. 43).

DCDOT started construction of a new streetcar line on H Street and Benning Road, NE that is expected to start revenue-service in the summer of 2013. Planning is also under way for additional lines across the city. The DC Streetcar, at approximately $310 million, comprises 37 miles and serves all eight wards in the District.

Recently, DCDOT selected Oregon Iron Works Inc. (OIW) to manufacture two modern streetcars that will be built in the U.S. The proposed Cooperative Purchase Agreement utilizes an existing contract for streetcar vehicles between OIW and the city of Portland, Ore.   

In Cincinnati, the $110 million project cost will be covered by city municipal bond proceeds, some in-kind, and cash private-sector contributions as well as a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the federal highway program. The first segment, which includes 18 stops, consists of five modern streetcars operating along a couplet configuration, comprising four miles of single track in one direction. Revenue service is anticipated to begin in 2014.

Future extensions of the streetcar line will include a connection and circulator through Cincinnati’s Uptown area,  which is home to the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Cincinnati Zoo.

Heading south, New Orleans has a few extensions of its existing streetcar line in the works. In June 2011, ground was broken on the Union Passenger Terminal/Loyola Avenue Streetcar project.

The new streetcar extension will run through New Orleans’ central business district along Loyola Avenue from the Union Passenger Terminal to Canal Street. The Union Passenger Terminal is a major southern hub for Amtrak, with three trains serving the station. The Loyola Avenue corridor is home to significant commercial and business activity, including the city’s energy, government, healthcare and financial sectors, as well as many attractions and entertainment. The extension is expected to begin service this summer.


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