City and county leaders are looking for a new funding source for major piece of the city’s public-transportation plan.
City transportation staff is beginning to prepare an application for a federal TIGER grant. TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, and it is part of the federal government’s economic stimulus plan.
The part of the city’s transportation plan that has yet to be funded is a downtown circulator that will hit the major cultural and business stops around Sarasota.
“We want to hit places for employment, restaurants and cultural and entertainment venues,” said City Engineer Alex DavisShaw.
The city is seeking about $1.4 million in funding to build a plan for the circulator. If that money is received and plan approved, it may then apply for more funds to actually build the route.
Anthony Beckford, SCAT general manager, said the downtown circulator would be slower moving than other buses in transportation system, with stops every three to five minutes.
The overall plan is to tie the circulator in to the rest of the SCAT system, including the proposed bus rapid-transit line. The BRT is a high-speed bus line that would run from the area around University of South Florida and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport to Westfield Southgate Mall.
The BRT and other SCAT buses would bring commuters, shoppers and tourists to selected downtown stops, where those travelers could then hop on the circulator to get closer to their destination.
Beckford said it hasn’t been determined whether the circulator vehicle would be a bus or a trolley.
The city has two preliminary circulator routes — one that runs the length of Main Street and another that hits cultural stops from Boulevard of the Arts to Selby Gardens.