Raleigh Report

Raleigh out of $40M transit grant competition

The city is out of the running for a federal grant that would help drastically change the way commuters get around southern Raleigh and N.C. State University.

Raleigh was one of 78 cities – including Charlotte and Greensboro – that last month applied for a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of its “Smart City Challenge.” The DOT plans to award the money to the city that presents the best plan for using innovative technology to improve transportation conditions and address traffic in their area.

Raleigh, if granted the money, said it would launch an eco-friendly transit network around the city’s largest university – equipping the campus with self-driving, electric pods and buses.

But, when the DOT announced the challenge’s five finalists on Saturday, Raleigh wasn’t among them.

It’s unclear why Raleigh wasn’t selected.

Before Saturday’s announcement, city planners were cautiously optimistic about Raleigh’s chances because it incorporates futuristic ideas N.C. State has been developing for years and complements the Wake Transit Plan.

In their application, Raleigh planners also cited the city’s status as the fourth-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country and noted access to resources at Cisco, Red Hat, SAS, NetApp, ABB, Transloc, the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences and IBM – which have a presence in the region.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht