Louisville/Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT B-31

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Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT

Louisville, Kentucky

(August 2001)

Description

The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) is proposing to design and construct a 15-mile light rail transit (LRT) line extending from the Louisville Central Business District south to a park-and-ride facility at the Gene-Snyder Freeway ((I-265). The proposed project is proposed to serve major trip generators including the Central Business District, the Kentucky International Convention Center, the Papa Johnís Cardinal Stadium, the Louisville Medical Center, the University of Louisville, Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, Louisville International Airport, the UPS World-Wide Distribution Center, and the Ford Motor Company Louisville Assembly Plant. The proposed project also includes the construction of 18 stations, purchase of up to eighteen light rail vehicles and the construction of a light rail vehicle maintenance and storage facility. Total capital costs for the Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor project are estimated at $671.2 million (escalated dollars)

The South Corridor light rail project is expected to serve 15,950 average weekday boardings by 2020, including 11,000 daily new riders.

Summary Description

Proposed Project:

Light Rail Transit Line
15 miles, 18 stations

Total Capital Cost ($YOE):

$671.2 million

Section 5309 New Starts Share ($YOE):

$380.2 million

Annual Operating Cost ($YOE):

$28.03 million

Ridership Forecast (2020):

15,950 avg. weekday boardings
11,000 daily new riders

FY 2002 Financial Rating:
FY 2002 Project Justification Rating:
FY 2002 Overall Project Rating:

Medium
Medium
Recommended

The Recommended rating is based upon the projectís adequate cost-effectiveness and transit-supportive land use as well as the strength of the projectís capital and operating financing plans for this early stage of project development. The overall project rating applies to this Supplemental Report on New Starts and reflects conditions as of August 2001. Project evaluation is an ongoing process. As New Starts projects proceed through development, the estimates of costs, benefits, and impacts are refined. The FTA ratings and recommendations will be updated annually to reflect new information, changing conditions, and refined financing plans.

Status

In 1996, the TARC, in conjunction with the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet began undertaking a Major Investment Study of potential transportation solutions in the greater Louisville/southern Indiana region. In the fall of 1998, the South Central corridor along I-65 was selected as the primary corridor in the region for the implementation of a rapid-transit project with bus improvements. The locally preferred alternative was adopted by KIPDA into the regions financially constrained long range plan in March of 1999. FTA approved the South Corridor project into preliminary engineering in August 2001.

TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(40) authorizes the Louisville-Jefferson County Corridor for final design and construction. Through FY 2001, Congress has not appropriated Section 5309 New Starts funds for this project.

Evaluation

The following criteria have been estimated in conformance with FTA's Technical Guidance on Section 5309 New Starts Criteria. FTA has evaluated this project as being in preliminary engineering. The project will be re-evaluated when it is ready to advance into final design and for next yearís Annual Report on New Starts. N/A indicates that data are not available for a specific measure.

Justification

The Medium project justification rating reflects the strong cost-effectiveness and moderate transit-supportive land uses in place to support the proposed light rail project.

Mobility Improvements

Rating: Low-Medium

TARC estimates that the South Corridor light rail will result in the following annual travel time savings:

 

Mobility Improvements

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

Annual Travel Time Savings (Hours)

1.4 million

1.3 million

Based on 1990 census data, there are an estimated 3,066 low-income households within a ½ mile radius of the proposed 18 stations. This represents approximately 38 percent of the total number of households within ½ mile radius of the proposed stations.

Environmental Benefits

Rating: High

The Louisville area is currently classified as a "non-attainment" area for ozone. TARC estimates that in the year 2020, the project would result in the following annual changes in emissions.

 

Criteria Pollutant

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

0

0

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)

56

38

Hydrocarbons (HC)

55

36

Particulate Matter (PM10)

0

0

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

665

2,981

Values reflect annual emissions reductions.

TARC estimates that in the year 2020, the project would result in the following savings in regional energy consumption (measured in British Thermal Units - BTU).

 

Annual Energy Savings

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

BTU (million)

8,478

35,608

Values reflect annual BTU reductions.

 

Operating Efficiencies

Rating: Medium

TARC estimates the following costs per passenger mile for the LRT extension.

 

No-Build

TSM

New Start

System Operating Cost per Passenger Mile (1999)

$0.56

$0.56

$0.57

Values reflect 2020 ridership forecast and 2000 dollars.

Cost Effectiveness

Rating: Medium

TARC estimates the following cost-effectiveness indices:

 

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs.

TSM

Incremental Cost per Incremental Passenger

$10.20

$12.60

Values reflect 2020 ridership forecast and 2000 dollars.

Transit-Supportive Existing Land Use and Future Patterns

Rating: Medium

The Medium land use rating reflects the number of high-trip generators along the proposed corridor and efforts made by TARC and the Louisville-Jefferson County Division of Planning and Development Services to develop transit supportive policies in the corridor at this early stage in the planning process.

Existing Land Use: There are a number of significant trip generators and major activity centers in the corridor including the Central Business District (60,000 employees), the Kentucky International Convention Center, the Papa Johnís Cardinal Stadium, the Louisville Medical Center, the University of Louisville, Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, Louisville International Airport, the UPS World-Wide Distribution Center, and the Ford Motor Company Louisville Assembly Plant. Most of these activity centers are within walking distance of the proposed transit system. There is also good pedestrian access within the CBD, the Medical Center Area, and the University of Louisville. Neighborhoods served by the proposed system include Smoketown-Shelby Park and Beechmont-Southside. However, there are no parking policies in place and parking in the CBD is inexpensive and plentiful.

Proposed Plans and Policies: The Louisville-Jefferson County adopted the Cornerstone 2020 Comprehensive Plan in June of 2000. Within the Cornerstone 2020 Comprehensive Plan there are a number of transit supportive policies that promote increased densities, improved pedestrian accessibility, support in-fill development, encourage mixed-use developments, and call for the development of regional transit centers. In February 2001, the Louisville-Jefferson County Division of Planning and Development services circulated a draft "Planned Transit Development" ordinance that would create a zoning overlay district around planned transit stations. This is a draft policy that is under review, and because the exact station locations have not been identified, the area affected by the proposed ordinance is unknown. Specific station area plans will be developed during the preliminary engineering stage of project development. Additionally, TARC is developing a Transit-and-Pedestrian Friendly Mobility Design Manual that details design characteristics desirable of new developments within the TARC service area.

Local Financial Commitment

Proposed Non-Section 5309 Share of Total Project Costs: 43%

The financial strategy for the proposed Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT assumes $380.2 million (57 percent) of Section 5309 New Starts funds, $17.9 million (1.6 percent) in FHWA STP funds, $19.5 million (3 percent) in FHWA CMAQ funds, $12.4 million (2 percent in FTA Section 5309 bus funds, $141.6 million (21 percent) in State funds, $69 million (10 percent) in local funds, and $30 million (5 percent) in private sector contributions.

Stability and Reliability of Capital Financing Plan

Rating: Medium

The Medium reflects the financial condition of the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) and the completeness of the financial plan at this early stage of project development.

Agency Financial Condition: The Louisville TARC is in good financial condition. TARC has received funding since 1974 from the Mass Transit Trust Fund (MTTF); a dedicated source of funding that obtains revenues from a .20 percent occupational license fee. This source provides approximately 70 percent of the operating funds for TARC annually, with the remainder from the City of Louisville, farebox recovery, and the State of Kentucky.

Cost Estimates and Contingencies: The capital cost estimates for the Transportation Tomorrow project include capital cost contingencies that are appropriate for this early stage in project development.

Existing and Committed Funding: None of the funds proposed for the project are committed at this time. Three critical items will need to be approved by the Kentucky legislature, which will convene in January of 2002; 1) TARC will need permission to issue general obligation bonds to cover $140 million in capital costs, 2) TARC must obtain approval to place a proposed increase in the occupational license fee from .20 to .25 percent before the Jefferson County voters in a referendum, and 3) TARC will request the legislature to establish a tax-increment financing district in Louisville for the project.

New and Proposed Sources: With the exception of the proposed federal funding sources, all of the proposed funding for the project is from new funding sources or increases in existing funding sources. New sources include the proposed general obligation bonds, tax-increment financing, and the proposed increase in TARCís Mass Transit Trust Funds revenue source.

Stability and Reliability of Operating Finance Plan

Rating: Medium

The Medium rating reflects the financial condition of the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) and the completeness of the financial plan at this early stage of project development.

Operating Costs and Contingencies: Operating cost estimates appear reasonable for this early stage of development. Project sponsors estimate an annual operating and maintenance costs at $28 million (escalated dollars) for the Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor project.

Existing and Committed Funding: None of the funds proposed for the project are committed at this time. Three critical items will need to be approved by the Kentucky legislature, which will convene in January of 2002; 1) TARC will need permission to issue general obligation bonds to cover $140 million in capital costs, 2) TARC must obtain approval to place a proposed increase in the occupational license fee from .20 to .25 percent before the Jefferson County voters in a referendum, and 3) TARC will request the legislature to establish a tax-increment financing district in Louisville for the project. The increase in the occupational license fee is necessary to provide on-going operations and maintenance funds for the project.

New and Proposed Sources: With the exception of the proposed federal funding sources, all of the proposed funding for the project is from new funding sources or increases in existing funding sources. New sources include the proposed general obligation bonds, tax-increment financing, and the proposed increase in TARCís Mass Transit Trust Funds revenue source.

Locally Proposed Financing Plan
(Reported in $YOE)

 

Proposed Source of Funds

Total Funding ($million)

 

Appropriations to Date

Federal:    
  Section 5309 New Starts

$380.2

($0 million appropriated through FY 2001)
  FHWA-STP

$17.9

 
  FHWA-CMAQ

$19.5

 
  FTA 5309 Bus

$12.4

 
State:    
  State Bonds

$140.0

 
  State

$1.6

 
Local:    
  Tax Increment Financing

$30.0

 
  MTTF

$30.9

 
  City/County Revenues

$8.4

 
  Private Sector

$30.2

 
 
 

TOTAL

$671.2

 
NOTE: Funding proposal reflects assumptions made by project sponsors, and are not DOT or FTA assumptions. Totals may not add due to rounding.

 

MAP