McNally Seeks DOT Meeting over Tiger Application

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mayor John McNally sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx requesting a meeting regarding the city’s application for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant funds.

The city’s application for $15.5 million was not among the requests that were funded when the eighth round of federal Tiger grants totaling nearly $500 million was announced last week.

Youngstown and its partners, which included Youngstown State University, Mercy Health, Eastern Gateway Community College, Youngstown Business incubator, Catholic Diocese of Youngstown and Western Reserve Transit Authority, sought the funds for improvements on and along the Fifth Avenue corridor to support growth in medical, education, technology, housing and business sectors and tie into YSU’s planned upgrades.

“It would have been a good project and it’s frustrating,” McNally said following this morning’s Board of Control meeting.

In his letter to Foxx, McNally expressed “great disappointment concerning the apparent rejection” of the city’s Strategic Medical, Academic, Residential, Recreational and Technology, or “SMAR2T,” Corridor plan. The city’s “new vision included transforming infrastructure by right-sizing roadways to fit current local capacity and using remaining right of way to create multi-modal complete streets in an area encompassing the medical, academic, residential, recreational and technological communities” between the downtown, Mercy’s St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and YSU.

McNally said he expects to resubmit the application in an anticipated next round and requested a debriefing in Washington for the application’s team leaders to learn more about why the city’s application wasn’t funded to improve its next submission.

The department received 585 eligible applications collectively requesting $9.3 billion in funding, according to a DOT release. Communities that received funding included Akron, which was awarded $5 million; Pittsburgh, which received $19 million; and Cleveland MetroParks, which got $8 million.

In the meantime, McNally said the city will move forward on components of the project as it is able, including planned projects on Fifth Avenue and Commerce Street.

Planned for late next year, the Commerce upgrade could include shrinking of the roadway, with additional parking or a media under discussion now. Work on Fifth, anticipated for 2019, could include a “road diet” for that street as well, with a bike path and green infrastructure to help with drainage issues being added.

“We’ll do what we can without federal help,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.