None of the three Louisiana cities, including Baton Rouge, that applied for a $40 million federal transportation grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation were among seven finalists named Saturday in the running for the grant.
Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport were among 78 cities that had sent applications outlining their ideas to enhance public transportation.
But they didn’t make the cut when officials with the Smart City Challenge announced seven city finalists in Austin, Texas.
The federal funds are to be awarded to a midsize city that submits the best plan for using data, technology and creativity to shape the way people and goods move through the community, according to a news release from DOT.
The seven cities selected as finalists included Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced.
When the challenge was issued in December, five finalists were to be chosen, but Foxx said the potential decision-makers saw in the applications they received compelled them to expand the pot.
The winner will be announced in June, according to the news release.
William Daniel, the city-parish’s chief administrative officer, said Baton Rouge submitted ideas to boost transportation by tackling more than one project.
“It was basically a combination of things, from improving public transportation to developing smart signals with our traffic lights and tying them into fiber optics,” Daniel said.
Daniel was disappointed to hear that Baton Rouge did not make the list.
“We’re disappointed we lost, but it doesn’t mean that we’re going to give up on those ideas,” Daniel said.
“Just because we weren’t successful doesn’t mean we aren’t going to take the ideas and put them into place to make the transportation experience in East Baton Rouge better for the people. We learned a lot putting the plan together.”