Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capital, consistently has had difficulty sustaining a strong public transportation system, but two U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) programs are working to turn the situation around.
Because of the shaky mass-transit system, road congestion became so unbearable that two years ago, residents voted to finance a viable bus system through property taxes, but little had changed for the better since that development.
Then came a USDOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, which is funding the creation of a modern streetcar system. Public transportation is an important part of maintaining a strong local economy and a positive quality of life for local residents, and the goal of the streetcar system will be to draw more riders to the public transportation system, offer access to communities that have been underserved, improve access to shopping and other amenities, reduce traffic congestion throughout the city and create livable, walkable workplaces and communities.
Then USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx chose Baton Rouge as one of seven cities to be part of the Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot (LadderSTEP) project, which gives these cities federal help to address each city's individual mass-transit needs through technical assistance and other resources.