city already set aside $10 million of the $127 million in MAPS 3
streetcar funding to pay for the acquisition and streetcar-related
improvements to the station.
a setback came in late December, when the city learned its application
was denied for $17 million from a federal Transportation Investment
Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) III grant. That money was to
constitute the majority of $26 million in funding for the city’s planned
intermodal transportation hub.
right, An artist's rendering of the hub
An earlier study named the historic rail station at 100 S. E.K. Gaylord as the best location for that hub for a variety of transportation modes, making it, as one consultant on the project said, the “Grand Central Station for Oklahoma.”
The three phases of hub construction were estimated to cost around $127 million, spread between federal and state funding, as well as among several cities participating in the regional transit plan.
The grant application laid out the city’s early plans for the hub:
Gaylord plaza: an entrance and plaza running on the east side of
—E.K. Gaylord streetcar: a streetcar stop at the front of the hub
—Bricktown plaza: a pedestrian thoroughfare under the existing elevated tracks, connecting downtown to Bricktown near the Bricktown canal’s westernmost termination point, which ends in a fountain. The plaza would contain green space and connect the hub to water taxis on the canal
—Renovations and acquisition of Santa Fe Train Depot —Renovations to the southern Amtrak station in Santa Fe Train Depot
As part of the TIGER III application, the city put up $6.1 million in MAPS 3 funds and secured $2 million in funding from the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments and $1 million from the state Department of Transportation.
The amount of MAPS 3 money is enough to cover the estimated $9 million for property acquisition and Phase I property improvements.
Eric Wenger, OKC public works director, said the grant denial is not a setback.“It’s done, it’s gone and we’ve moved on from that,” he said at the MAPS 3 streetcar subcommittee meeting on Jan. 25.
Jane Abraham, community and government affairs manager in the city manager’s office, said in terms of the local funding, the ACOG money may need to be reapplied for, while the ODOT portion was an in-kind donation of nearby land to be used for parking.
Abraham said the city is working to apply for another federal grant for about $2.5 million for work on E.K. Gaylord Boulevard that hopefully would benefit some plans for the hub.
Wenger noted that there is no definitive timeline for the additional improvements. He said the city is going to continue seeking additional funding for the project.
“We’re looking at every opportunity to engage and look at alternate sources of funding for all of our transit areas, all of the areas around the hub or streetcar, and will continue to do so,” Wenger said.