Holden seeking federal money for streetcar connecting LSU, downtown
As plans for the development of a streetcar along Nicholson Drive continue to move forward, Mayor Kip Holden is working on potential sources of federal funding for the project, which is part of the FuturEBR Master Plan. Holden tells Daily Report he and seven other U.S. mayors met late last month with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to discuss the availability of federal funds to help offset the cost of the 3.5-mile streetcar line, which some have estimated could be $60 million or more. "HUD has some money and [the U.S. Department of] Transportation has some money," Holden says. "But those pots are shrinking fast, so yesterday we started writing down our priorities … we're working to push this forward quickly." The city-parish will also request HUD funds to help develop more housing for veterans, but Holden says most of his wish list will focus on the development of the streetcar line, which, as envisioned, will link the LSU campus to downtown. Speaking this morning to several hundred business and political leaders at the Business Report's annual Leadership Power Breakfast, BRAF President and CEO John Davies discussed the streetcar project and its significance to the redevelopment of the Nicholson Drive corridor. "This project is essential to the redevelopment of this corridor," Davies said. "It's essential to our future." —Stephanie Riegel
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